Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mae Kanazawa Hara Interview
Narrator: Mae Kanazawa Hara
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 15, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-hmae-01-0004

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AI: I also wanted to ask you, during your high school years, that's a time when many young people are making their plans for the future.

MH: Uh-huh.

AI: What were you thinking of doing in the future?

MH: Well, I (...) thought I'll just major in music and then go to a university, and I never gave it a thought. But as it turned out, I attended University of Washington just one year. Then I had an unusual opportunity to go to Chicago, and that turned out to be just a weekend I was invited. My cousin from Japan came to, at the invitation of attending the Rodeheavers Sacred Music School that had a two-week session at Winona Lake, Indiana, which was headed by Mr. Homer Rodeheaver, who was a song leader for Billy Sunday. And he had this two weeks of sacred music conference, at which many prominent sacred music teachers were invited to be teachers, like Dr. and Mrs. Clarence Dickinson from Union Seminary in New York. We had Rollin Pease from Northwestern University, a wonderful singer. And then Clyde Wolford, a beautiful tenor singer from Texas. George L. Tenney, who has one of the outstanding choral group in Chicago, was also on the staff. People like that. And then for a nineteen-year-old girl, who had little experience, thrown into this situation, was very, very mind-boggling, and it became a turning point in my life. I would have never have had an experience of that kind if I had been in Seattle alone. After the two weeks, we were invited to the home of Dr. J. N. Rodeheaver, who was the older brother of Homer Rodeheaver, (...) to be in their home in Chicago, Illinois. Both of them taught at the Northern Baptist Seminary.

We lived on the campus in one of the faculty apartment, and so while I was there I continued my college subjects at the seminary. And because of my interest in music, they sent me down to the American Conservatory downtown to study music. And my specialty was preschool music with Miss Louise Robyn of the American (Conservatory) who was one of the outstanding teachers of preschool music of that period. Now, we have to remember this is way back in 1932. [Laughs] (...) Instead of taking us to a Methodist church where they attended, they let us go to New First Congregational Church, whose choir director was this Dr. Tenney, who taught at the Rodeheaver (School of Sacred Music). He had five choirs, and I had the wonderful experience of singing in his senior choir, listening to the children being trained, ladies chorus, male (chorus), exposed to all that for the three years that I was in Chicago. Wonderful experience, and the organist at that time was (Dr. William) Lester, a very outstanding (organist). What a wonderful organ that they had. And I was exposed to all these wonderful, wonderful church music that was written for the organ and then to be singing every Sunday. At one time, this church was in the heart of the "gold (coast)." The wealthy people lived all (...) around it, and the church was (...) richly endowed. But by the time I got there to participate, the people around the church all moved out to the (suburb) and so the area was deteriorating and was housed with people who were much poorer. But the children all came to the choir. During the week they all looked kind of scrubby, but every Sunday morning they all arrive all spruced up in their Sunday best, and they all sang like angels. So it was a joy to listen to them being trained every week. And both Dr. Tenney and Dr. Lester took them (in), loved them, treated them and trained them. (...) The church had a camp in Michigan, and so if the children behaved well and didn't... and certain criteria, they were given one week's vacation at this camp during the summer, something that these young children looked forward to. And I attended the camp also and they had a (wonderful time). They kept singing in the open air. At the end of the week they gave a concert and yet they had all this wonderful activities of swimming, playing on the beaches, (had) nature hikes and whatnot. So these children were exposed to this wonderful rich experience. (...)

AI: That sounds wonderful.

MH: Wasn't it?

AI: Let me, let me make sure I have the dates correct. You, you went to Chicago in 1932, is that right?

MH: '2, yes. '32, and I was there 'til '35.

AI: And before that, you attended University of Washington?

MH: Yeah, one year.

AI: From 1930 to 1931?

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.