One of my former students in Hilo, Randy Hongo, invited us to go to his church, Kalihi Union Church. Randy was a gifted piano player and composer, and his wife Gay an exceptional classical singer. They had been touring the mainland US doing Christian concerts, and had returned to Hawaii where Randy was Music Director at the church.
To get acquainted, we invited them for dinner. For conversation, Betty asked Randy, “If the Lord was sitting here, and asked you what would you really like to do.” What would you say?Randy replied that he would like to make a recording so they could reach more people with their music. Betty then asked, “What would that take?” Get a producer, find a recording studio, and raise thousands of dollars. Betty said, “Let’s do it!”
Our next meeting included Tim, a friend of Randy who was a producer. Randy wanted the best, so Tim said the best studio was SeaWest on the North Shore, but they were always busy, and it would take six months or more to get in.
To raise money we decided to form a non-profit organization called Christian Vision. I wrote up the non-profit application, and became President, and Betty became Manager, and etc, the “do everything else person.”
Coincidently, Betty received a letter informing her that an insurance policy had matured, and would she like to withdraw the money, or reinvest it? Betty donated the seed money that launched the Christian Vision ministry. The SeaWest studio folks agreed to work us in after hours and in-between, and a few weeks later, after Randy and Gay scrambled to get the music ready, we were in the studio and recording! We took pre-orders to raise money. Our ambitious goal was to have the album ready for Christmas, only three months away.
We are grateful the way God was with us and blessed the project. Normally, months of planning are needed to get all the facets of a record production together. But, in a matter of weeks we were able to get the best studio on the island during a very busy season, get Christian musicians and back-up singers, get the instrumental and vocal arrangements of ten songs Randy chose, and then — record everything in 4 days. God’s timing is perfect. After recording the Master, it had to be sent to the mainland for imprinting on the LP discs, and sent back.
“He’s Alive,” the first Christian Vision cassettes were ready by the Christmas concert, with Betty, the Hongos, and helpers up half the night before, loading and shrink-wrapping the cassettes. The ”He’s Alive” LP album came in early 1982, and was featured at the official Christian Vision launch concert in March. Lord of the Islands (pictured above) was their second album.
Christian Vision was launched, and the Hongos have since recorded 19 CDs, six of which have won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Best Inspirational Album Of The Year. The Hongos have traveled all over the world as God blessed their Christian Vision ministry of music.
This is music with a message, that Christ is alive and waiting for people to hear and believe and accept Him.
See Randy And Gay on their website: rghongo.com