Perhaps no church music program had a greater influence on the late Carl Crosier than that of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, Washington. As a student at the University of Washington, he attended the weekly Compline service in the mid-60s —that was when only about 50-60 people attended, not like the hundreds of young people who attend today. Years later, it was through our friendship with St. Mark’s organist/director, Peter Hallock, that much of the St. Mark’s repertoire came to the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, a Honolulu Compline service was established, and that we formed a partnership to publish high quality sacred music (Ionian Arts, Inc.)
Here’s a short history of the Cathedral:
In 1927 Saint Mark’s was designated as the Cathedral for the Diocese of Olympia, and in 1928 construction began on a new building at the present location on Tenth Avenue East. It was designed to be the greatest neo-Gothic cathedral of the Pacific Rim. But the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression interrupted construction, and only Thomsen Chapel was ever finished in the style meant for the whole cathedral.
Saint Mark’s first dean, John D. McLaughlan, and parish members struggled valiantly to keep the cathedral doors open during the 1930s, but financial problems caused the loss of the building to bank foreclosure in 1941. During World War II, the facility was used by the U.S. Army as an anti-aircraft gun training center, while the parish worshipped in a small space on Federal Avenue East. Ownership of the cathedral was regained in 1944 and for the next three years, civic leaders joined members of the parish in raising funds to retire the cathedral’s debt. In 1947, all indebtedness was paid off, and the mortgage was symbolically burned before the altar.
Under the guidance of organist/choirmaster Peter Hallock, the magnificent Flentrop organ was purchased and installed in 1964-65, with a brick revision of the East Wall to accommodate the new organ loft. In 1997 the West Wall was sealed and clad in limestone, with a new rose window and interior glass reredos installed. But chunks of concrete breaking away from exterior walls that were never designed to be exposed to the elements have posed a safety risk, and it is now urgent that we finish cladding the exterior of the cathedral in stone in order to preserve the structure. (From the Cathedral’s capital campaign brochure)
This amazing, reverberant, cavernous space was what shaped Peter Hallock’s musical style in his years of ministry there. As with any other building, though, its facilities are now showing significant signs of an aging infrastructure in need of revitalization and improvement.
In particular, the glass windows which were meant to be temporary are now
85 years old, and in need of replacement. Last summer, Dean Thomason approached the board of the Seattle Compline Choir about the small half-window which is placed above Thompson Chapel, and facing Peter Hallock’s resting place. The light from this window shines directly on him every morning. The opportunity is there to raise the $150,000 needed to name the window, “The Compline Window in Memory of Dr. Peter R. Hallock,” St. Mark’s first Canon Precentor who founded the Compline Choir 60 years ago. About half of the funds for the window have already been raised.
I just sent in my check yesterday for this project. You can see the complete brochure here.. I encourage all of you who have been touched by the music of Peter Hallock to join me in this lasting legacy to a great composer and church musician.