I just typed Sunday’s bulletin, the one for the First Sunday in Advent, and we are singing four pieces by composer Peter Hallock in the service! The four compositions will include The Advent Litany, Psalm 122, the Gospel Acclamation (“Show us your mercy, O Lord”) and the anthem, “The Dawning” on a poem by Henry Vaughan. Then Sunday evening, we’re doing Hallock’s Great “O” Antiphons, a service which includes music, readings and banners on the so-called”O” Antiphons. I asked Carl if the reason he picked all of Hallock’s music was because he was coming to Hawaii. No, Carl said, that music was picked six months ago, and we didn’t know then that he was coming for a visit.
Indeed, Peter Hallock is here this weekend, having celebrated his 86th birthday last Friday, and we are having a birthday dinner tonight. I think we can safely say that outside of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, the Lutheran Church of Honolulu does more of Hallock’s music than any other church . . . in the world. Just two weeks ago we did his powerful “Last Judgment” as the musical sermon. Nearly every Sunday, the choir sings one of Hallock’s Ionian psalms.
Here’s a short bio of Peter Hallock, as found on the Gothic Records website:
Peter Hallock is a towering figure in modern Episcopal church music. During his 40 years at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, he produced a remarkable legacy: a daunting number of published and unpublished compositions, including numerous motets as well as large-scale anthems with instrumental accompaniment. A three-year cycle of psalm settings for choir with congregational antiphons is the most popular Psalter in common use in both the Episcopal and Lutheran denominations in the United States.
The popularity of Compline at St. Mark’s, which he founded, spawned a revival in interest in this service, now included in the prayer books of Lutheran and Episcopal denominations worldwide. His musical accomplishments have been recognized by numerous degrees and honors: Doctor of Sacred Music, honoris causa, from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (the Episcopal seminary of the western United States); Associate of the Royal School of Church Music; Associate of the Royal College of Music; Master of Music in Organ Performance and Composition (University of Washington); Canon Precentor (emeritus), St. Mark’s Cathedral; and Canon of Honor, Diocese of Olympia. Dr. Hallock was the first lay person in the Episcopal Church to be given the title of Canon Precentor, indicating his importance not only as a composer and musician, but also as a contributor to the liturgy of St. Mark’s and the Diocese of Olympia.
On Sunday I hope many of you in the congregation will take the opportunity to thank Dr. Hallock for his beautiful music which we have enjoyed these many years.