Today is Easter Sunday 2011 and the morning services are over, with Easter Compline yet to go. Allen Bauchle and I arrived at 7 am this morning to rehearse the trumpet and organ music for the 8 am service. In addition to the Trumpet Concerto in D (for the prelude) and Sinfonia in D (for the postlude) by Giuseppe Torelli we played a transcription of the tenor aria from Bach Cantata 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden.” It’s devilishly difficult for both of us, but one of my favorite transcriptions.
We repeated the Torelli Concerto for the prelude at 10:30, then the service began with Peter Hallock’s “Easter Canticle” for voices and handbells. It brought back many memories, as Carl and I had a version of this piece performed as our wedding processional, 34 years ago. Back then we had to borrow handbells from Trinity Lutheran Church in Wahiawa.
Next the entrance hymn was “Hail thee, festival day” and in addition to organ accompaniment, we added trumpet, harp, handbells, celesta, and vibraphone on the refrain. That was immediately followed by Peter Hallock’s “This is the feast.” Last year we had six brass and percussion on Easter, so I missed the cymbal crash on the last refrain of this joyous canticle this year.
The offertory anthem was a major work by Peter Hallock, “Exsultate Deo” for choir, harp, organ, celesta, vibraphone, timpani, bass drum, and percussion. This very colorful work was extremely effective in its use and contrast of the various instruments and mixed Latin and English text. Someone said, “Boy, Hallock could write music for the movies!” The acolytes, who were sitting right in front of the bass drum and cymbals, put their hands over their ears when it got so loud! Four-year-old Raphael Stark specifically asked to be in church during the offertory to hear all the drums! (Three timpani, bass drum, and a whole cadre of smaller, pitched drums)
Harpist Connie Uejio played “Arabesque” by Marcel Grandjany during communion.. She and her husband, Glenn, remembered that when they moved to Hawaii over 30 years ago, Carl gave her the Britten Ceremony of Carols as her first gig.
During the communion, the choir performed an extremely sensitive and “on pitch” rendition of Randall Thompson’s famous “Alleluia.” I can’t tell you how many choirs I’ve heard sing this piece and go flat! But the LCH Choir stayed right on pitch with no intonation problems, in spite of some people talking during communion (Grrrr).
We ended the service with Easter Hymn (“Jesus Christ is risen today”) with the sopranos again ending on a high B-flat on the last verse, but this time, Allen Bauchle joined them on trumpet for the descant.
It was just about a year ago that Carl Crosier announced his retirement as Cantor of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. “I have one Holy Week and Easter left in me, then that’s it!” he told me. It’s not just the sheer volume of music that is done this week — it’s all the typing of the bulletins — it’s the gathering of all the musical forces and scores — it’s all the rehearsals, enlisting the volunteers, and a whole host of tasks that go into these big services. Well, now Holy Week and Easter are over, and Carl has crossed another big service off his list.