It’s the Monday in Holy Week, and we always have our dress rehearsal for Easter Day with the instrumentalists. This year’s big Easter anthem is by Peter Hallock (“Exsultate Deo”) and is new to all of us, even though it was written in 1989. There are three soloists: Rachel Lentz, soprano; Allen Bauchle, tenor; and David Del Rocco, bass.
The accompaniment includes organ, harp, vibes, celesta, drums, cymbals and timpani. Yes, it will be LOUD! and spectacularly WILD! Hallock has created yet another masterpiece, full of dramatic contrasts —from virtuosic cadenzas to soothing vibes. Lots of changing meters, though, and everyone has to count like crazy!
Up to now, choirs who have sung this have read from Hallock’s manuscript, and we are “lucky” that we are reading the score from publisher’s proofs.
In addition to the music for Easter morning, the choir also practiced for Saturday night’s Easter Vigil. The choral music, full of wrenching emotion, is by all Russian composers Alexandre Gretchaninoff (1864–1956), Alexandre Archangelsky (1846–1924), and Pavel Chesnokov (1877–1944). Listen for beautiful solos from Chandra Peters, soprano, and Keane Ishii, bass. The choir has had to bone up on its high church Slavonic for these pieces!