This week we are hosting Jason Anderson, director of the Compline Choir of St. Mark’s Cathedral — Peter Hallock’s hand-picked successor to the men’s choir he founded over 50 years ago in Seattle, WA. A native of Indiana, Jason first sang Peter Hallock’s music at Trinity Church in Indianapolis, IN and later moved to Portland, OR where he sang in the choir at Trinity Cathedral under John Strege (1999-2001) and where he was introduced to the Ionian Psalter and Hallock’s Baptism of Christ. He writes: “Hallock’s unique musical language, melodies, harmonic voice, and attention to prosody immediately appealed to my musical sensibilities.”
In 2007, when Jason pursued a doctoral degree in music at the University of Washington, he decided to catalogue the works of Peter Hallock as a research topic. However the project became so vast and involved that the title and focus of his doctoral dissertation became The Life and Works of Peter R. Hallock (b. 1924). Jason conducted four 90-minute interviews with Peter which were then transcribed. We were first introduced to Jason when he interviewed Carl via email for the dissertation.
In October 2002, Jason began work as organist/choirmaster at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church in Issaquah, and started with a choir of five. He turned to Hallock’s Ionian Psalter, which was composed by a fellow Episcopal church musician. He says “The further the choir delved into The Ionian Psalter, the more they came to enjoy the challenges each setting brought.”
In the dissertation, Jason writes “Many church, academic, and professional musicians do not know Hallock or his music, which includes over two hundred original compositions and arrangements … Structured in three parts, the dissertation offers (1) a biography of Hallock, (2) an annotated chronological catalog of his works together with a primer on his compositional process and style, and (3) a selection of six unpublished compositions.”
In case you don’t know, it was the influence of Peter Hallock which had such a major impact on the music at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu from 1972-2011, and it was to Peter Hallock that Carl Crosier turned when he began the job in 1972. The LCH Compline Choir was modeled after the Compline Choir at St. Mark’s Cathedral and you can read about the 36 years of Compline at LCH by clicking here.
Today it was my job to take Jason on a mini-tour of Oahu. It is his first trip to Hawaii and so I am enjoying playing tour guide. If you would like to visit the Compline Choir website, click here.