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SMS Donau Seamen's Grave Re-dedication

What an honor it was to perform for the 1869 SMS Donau Seamen’s grave historical re-dedication at the King Street Catholic Cemetery on Friday, October 26. Hosted by by the Austrian Association of Hawai‘i with special permission granted by the Catholic Church in Honolulu, the ceremony recollected the story of the SMS Donau and, interestingly, its connection to the Royal Hawaiian Band.

On December 20, 1869 the frigate SMS Donau of the Austrian Imperial Navy entered Honolulu for needed repairs, after being severely damaged by two typhoons off the coast of Japan. The ship was on a circumnavigational cruise and carried the remains of two officers and four sailors who perished during the two storms. Their remains were laid to rest in the King Street Catholic Cemetery.

While the repairs to the SMS Donau took nearly five months to complete, the ship’s marching band held daily concerts to the great delight of the Honolulu populace. In fact King Kamehameha V was petitioned by his subjects to revive a band that had been semi dormant. As a result we have today’s Royal Hawaiian Band!

~ Press release from the Austrian Association of Hawai‘i

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