Just about a year ago, I wrote a post about LCH’s first Compline Service, which happened on August 1, 1976. Well, today I’m going to invite you to Carl Crosier’s last Compline Service, which will happen this Sunday night, August 14 (yes, it’s the same day as the Midsummer Night’s Organ Concert — but that program is in the afternoon). Carl will be retiring from Compline after 35 years of being at LCH every Sunday night, except for some rare occasions like New Year’s when the fireworks were too noisy or when there was a concert or vesper service earlier in the evening. I always referred to Sunday night as “Carl’s night out with the boys.”
“The Last Compline” will be a double choir affair on the eve of the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, which is August 15th. That means that the choir will be larger than usual, and will be divided on both sides of the altar rail. They did something similar for the 30th anniversary of Compline which took place five years ago. For the psalm, they will alternate verses between both choirs.
The anthem will be one of my favorites, Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria,” and I have provided a link to the Chanticleer performance of it on YouTube. According to Dr. Wilbur Skeels, who apparently knew Biebl (1906-2001) personally, the piece was composed for a fireman’s choir, as there was a fireman in Biebl’s choir in the Fürstenfeldbruck parish near Munich, who asked him to compose something. It was the Cornell University Glee Club, though, who brought it back to America in 1970 where it has become very popular.
Peter Hallock in fact used this anthem for the 50th anniversary of the Seattle Compline Choir for which we were present and Carl sang in. Hope you can join us on Sunday night at 9 pm.