I took the red eye flight out of Honolulu last night and arrived in Seattle early this morning. Because I couldn’t check into the B&B until later in the afternoon, I walked over to St. Mark’s Cathedral a few blocks away. I have been here many times, but this was the first time I have seen it since being remodeled. As it turned out, I was alone in the nave.
The building is huge (with fantastic acoustics!) and in fact was once used as an anti-aircraft training facility during World War II. Here is how the construction project was described: Construction on Saint Mark’s Cathedral began in 1928, but was halted after the stock market crash of 1929, and never fully completed. The enormous concrete walls were never meant to be exposed to the elements, and the cheap depression-era glass windows were not meant to be permanent. In 2012, chunks of concrete began to break away from the exterior walls, posing a safety risk, and it became urgent for Saint Mark’s Cathedral to address the deteriorating state of the walls and windows.
In mid-April 2017, Saint Mark’s began a major construction project to clad the exterior walls of the cathedral in limestone and replace all of the windows with new energy-efficient models, designed to match the old windows in style and color.
I am here this weekend because the window near the corner where Compline is sung is being dedicated to the memory of long-time canon musician and our business partner, Peter R. Hallock.
On Sunday night, the Compline Choir will present Laetare, a service of music and readings celebrating themes in a large textile called “Sanctuary” which is on display in the Cathedral. The work by Josh Faught has been installed on the massive southeast pillar and “integrates popular and sacred music, a supernatural soap opera, and records of gay politics, sexuality, and culture in Seattle. Bringing together craft, sociopolitical, and personal histories, Sanctuary also links expressions of romantic and erotic love with songs of praise and prayers.
The work was hand-woven by the artist over the summer and fall of 2016, using hand-dyed cotton, hemp, and gold lamé. This abstract, painterly surface serves as a matrix and support for other found objects: novelty pin-badges, sheet music, magazines, and advertisements. Sourced from the artist’s personal collection and Seattle archives, these objects refer to cultural touchstones, political histories, pop culture, and jokes.”
Following the service (which will be more like a concert), there will be a reception for donors of the Compline Window, with an exhibition of Compline memorabilia, including the vestments worn over the years of its 50+ year history, followed by a special Compline service.
Some of Peter Hallock’s remains are interred in the pillar nearest the Compline corner. The mighty Flentrop organ is Peter’s legacy.