Last night, I attended Compline at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu which was the first time I’ve been to the service since Carl Crosier sang his last Compline service on August 14, 2011. The weekly service was discontinued in 2012, after Carl’s retirement. I went back and reread my post “Bittersweet Compline” about that 2011 service and I couldn’t help recalling Mary Reese’s words: there were a lot of ghosts in the service. Oh, John Bickel was there presiding, as he had for those many years, and there were some familiar voices in the choir: Paul Schwind, Randy Castello, David Del Rocco, Larry Nitz, Roy Helms and Keane Ishii.
(L-R) Back row: Steve Jensen, Allen Bauchle, Paul Beck, David Del Rocco, Larry Nitz, John Bickel, Alex Golub, Roy Helms, Dale Noble, Josh Graber, Eric Doescher, Kate Lingley. Second row: Bud Klein, Randy Castello, Jerome Vasconcellos, Jerry Altweis, Frances Altweis, Mary Reese, Linden Doescher, Molly Chang. Seated back row: Betsy McCreary, John McCreary, Bill Potter, Paul Schwind, Fritz Fritschel. Seated front row: Carl Crosier, Kathy Crosier, Carol Langner, Keane Ishii.
But look at the photo above of the dinner at which we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Compline, and three of the people have joined the heavenly chorus: Carl Crosier, John McCreary, and Eric Doescher. In addition, I can think of so many other Compline Choir members who have gone on their heavenly rest: David Reese, George MacDonald, Steve Fitzgerald, David Hall, Walter Williams, and Kavin Higa. And of course, we can’t leave out Peter Hallock, who started the whole Compline phenomenon in Seattle in the 1950s. Even the restaurant, On On Chinese Restaurant on McCully Street, is gone, too!
[UPDATE] Of course, I only listed the singers whom I know have gone on their heavenly reward. I completely forgot to list Helmuth Hormann, who was the voice of LCH Compline for many years! And there have been many, many singers who have moved away from Hawaii and are still alive and kicking!
At last night’s service, we were handed a bulletin with the order of service, something that was only done the very first year of Compline (1976). Because of this, the building was not only lit by candlelight as in the “old days,” but the house lights were on and set to dim, since people had to speak and sing some of the responses. Formerly all the responses were sung by the choir, but at last night’s service, several of the service parts were spoken by the whole assembly. Most notably the responsory, In manus tuas, Domine, (Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit), was sung by the congregation. There were some familiar parts: the chants, the Nunc Dimittis by Roger Sherman (with handbells), and the Final Preces by Peter Hallock.
The sound of the choir was lovely, but of course, I was missing Carl Crosier’s countertenor voice on the top. Kudos to Scott Fikse, director, for scheduling this service. He tells me the church may schedule an all-women’s Compline service in the spring.
Still—the meditative service has the power to make us stop and reflect, ending our day with praise and prayer.