Take Five

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:58pm

Tuesday is here once again, and that means it’s time for HOH to catch up with another Member of Congress. Today, it’s Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). Deciding to retire at the end of this Congress, Akaka leaves us with a song … in the park.

Q: As a former choir director of 17 years, what was your favorite song to perform?

A: I was choir director at Kawaiaha`o Church, known as the “Westminster Abbey of the Pacific.” One of my favorite songs to perform is “Hallelujah Chorus,” composed by George Frideric Handel. I could always feel the deep emotion when we performed it as a full choir.

Q: You were honored four times with the Friend of the National Parks Award. What is your favorite national park?

A: I have worked to improve, expand or establish each of Hawaii’s parks and cannot pick just one as a favorite, but Hawaii’s most visited park is World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, where two months ago survivors, veterans and many others attended ceremonies to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Q: Blu-ray or DVD?

A: The quality of the technology being produced today is just incredible, but I pay more attention to the quality of the movie or program I’m watching. A DVD is fine with me as long as the content is interesting.

Q: Being a former educator of 20 years, what was your fondest memory of a student?

A: I have so many fond memories of students. One experience that stands out to me is when I accompanied my students to a performance on “The Dinah Shore Show.” The Kamehameha School intermediate choir was invited to sing live on the Hollywood set, and I joined them on their trip from Hawaii. For many of the students, it was their first visit to the continental U.S. It was a great experience for them, and they all did so well on the show.

Q: You have 15 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, with two more on the way. At the holidays, do you like to spoil them?

A: You can imagine they keep me pretty busy. It’s challenging just to keep track of them, let alone see them all. Whenever I’m home, I hold a big family breakfast so everyone can get together. For Christmas, my wife, Millie, and I like to give a small amount of cash to the grandkids and great-grandkids, so they can learn from a young age about the value of money and how to save to get what they want. I’m really looking forward to having more time to get to know them after I retire next year, after 36 years in the House and Senate.