I forgot to mention that in addition to the four pieces of Peter Hallock that the choir is singing at 10:30 am on the First Sunday of Advent, and the seven pieces of “The Great ‘O’ Antiphons,” at 7:30 pm, there is yet ANOTHER Hallock piece we are doing on Sunday night—”Behold, a mighty Prophet.” This will really be a Hallock marathon! Of all the Advent Processionals that Hallock wrote, it is probably my favorite because of its interesting contrasts in texture.
It begins with a men’s choir in procession, singing chant and punctuated with handbells:
Behold a mighty Prophet, Comes in might and power to save;
King and shepherd, Prince of Peace, Alleluia.
The chant choir alternates with dramatic verses sung by the mixed choir, and like many of Hallock’s anthems, ends quietly, as peals of handbells fade away. I think this was the first of Hallock’s Advent processionals that the LCH Choir learned many, many years ago. In the early years, we borrowed handbells from other churches until we got our own 5-octave set in 1989.
Six years ago, the LCH Choir and Compline Choir presented an all-Hallock concert, in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday. We titled that concert, “Behold, a mighty prophet,” and even though it was the first piece on the concert, I thought “a mighty prophet” referred to Hallock himself!
Today was the dress rehearsal for tomorrow night’s Advent Procession. We started at 2:30 and didn’t end until 5:15 pm. Out of all the music, I think we struggled with the chants of “Behold a mighty prophet” the most. I hope it all comes together tomorrow!