Categorized | Education, Featured

HPA handbell choir releases holiday CD


By popular demand, the Middle School Handbell Choir at Hawaii Preparatory Academy has released its first CD, A Ka Makani Christmas. The CD features 10 favorite traditional holiday songs, including two foreign traditional melodies, one Russian and one Hebrew.HPACDCover

The handbell choir, under the direction of Georgia Polakova, has been part of the HPA Middle School experience for more than 25 years.

“It’s very exciting to see that we now can share the beautiful sounds of our handbell choir with so many others,” Polakova said. “We’re especially grateful to everyone who helped make this project possible, particularly the fourteen 2008 handbell choir members, our first recording artists. Every minute of our time together practicing, performing, and recording has been joyful.”

Handbell choirs range from two octaves (25 bells) to 7-1/2 octaves (92 bells). The HPA Middle School Handbell Choir uses a three-octave set of 37 Malmark bells. Each student is assigned specific notes, ringing his/her bells when that note appears in the music.

The HPA Handbell Choir is offered as a middle school elective. The choir consists of 14-16 students who play for seven weeks, usually performing after only four weeks of rehearsal.

“What I like best about the handbell choir is the group dynamics that must happen to have a successful performing handbell choir,” Polakova said. “The members must be positive and supportive of their fellow handbell players. There must be unity among the group or the music just doesn’t come together. It’s quite exciting to see the students’ faces when they realize they can contribute to the group and bring forth beautiful music.”

Terry Warner of Duck Pond Productions, recorded the 2008 HPA Handbell Choir on April 17, 2009 in the school’s Davies Chapel.

A Ka Makani Christmas features Jingle Bells, We Three Kings, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, ‘Twas in the Moon on Wintertime, Up on the Housetop, Kolyada (Russian Carol), Do You Hear What I Hear?, Hatikvah (traditional Hebrew melody), Carol of the Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and a special surprise track.

The CD, which is $10, is available for sale at the HPA Bookstore, HPA Village Campus office, online at, and at all HPA Handbell Choir performances.

All proceeds benefit the HPA Middle School Handbell Choir.

This holiday season, the 2009 Middle School Handbell Choir will offer these free public performances:

* 4-5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 7, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Lobby.

* 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 9, HPA Middle School Holiday Happening, Gates Performing Arts Center.

* 1 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11, Hale Hoola Hamakua (for residents and families).

For more information, call 881-4099 or e-mail:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: