“The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.”
So begins the ancient rite of Compline, the last monastic office of the day. Last night’s Compline at St. Mark’s Cathedral was in memory of its founder, Peter Rasmussen Hallock (Nov. 19, 1924-April 27, 2014) and the twenty regular members of the Compline Choir, conducted by Jason Anderson, were joined by nineteen alumni, totalling 39. To see the long procession of men enter the darkened nave was for me both happy and sad. Happy that Peter’s influence had touched so many lives, not just those in the choir, but also the thousands and thousands who had attended in person, and the unknown number of thousands reached through the radio broadcasts and podcasts. Sad that Peter is no longer with us, but knowing that his music will continue to be sung is a small consolation.
Like the funeral service of the afternoon, the Compline Choir sang all music of Peter Hallock, which included the opening orison, Bring us, O Lord God. Bill Turnipseed improvised an organ accompaniment in Peter’s mystical style underneath his Psalm 139. The Office Hymn was I’ll praise my maker while I’ve breath,’ OLD 113th, with a melody from Strassburger Kirchernamt, 1525, and harmonized by Hallock. The Nunc Dimittis was composed 18 August, 1996 which was in two-parts and punctuated with handbell peals. The anthem for the evening was Hallock’s Christus est Stella (Christ is the morning star) and sung in his memory:
Christ is the morning star Who when the night of this world is past
brings to his Saints the promise of everlasting life and opens everlasting day.
Compline ended, as always, with Peter’s Final Preces: We will lay us down in peace and take our rest. For it is Thou Lord only that makest us dwell in safety. The Lord be with you. And with thy spirit. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Now you have the chance to hear what we experienced, as you can hear the podcast by clicking here.