So the whole reason that I’m here in Seattle was to attend the dedication of the Compline Window to the Glory of God and to the memory of Peter R. Hallock. It was just then coincidental that the Compline Choir presented a program called Laetare of readings and musical reflections in response to “Sanctuary,” a textile installation by Josh Faught on the same day.
The readings and musical responses were chosen by members of the Compline Choir corresponding to the themes in “Sanctuary:” popular and sacred music, a supernatural soap opera, and records of gay politics, sexuality, and culture in the region. Copies of Peter Hallock’s music manuscripts are incorporated into the tapestry.
Texts were based on Khalil Gibran, “A Visit from Wisdom,” Psalm 139, “Finding Sanctuary” by Christopher Jamison, poetry by Gaia Willis-Owen, Deuteronomy, Psalm 62, “No reserved seats” (an article from the Saint Mark’s newsletter), “A Biblical Call to Inclusiveness” by John Shelby Spong, “Come, said my soul” by Walt Whitman, an excertp from “Hidden Passions: Secrets from the Diaries of Tabitha Lenox,” by Alice Alfonsi, Song of Songs, Psalm 48, Matthew 25, Lamentations, “The Monastery of the Heart” by Joan Chittister, and “A Hymn of Belinda Carlisle” based on “Heaven is a place on earth” by Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley. All the readings were chosen and spoken by members of the Compline Choir, positioned at different points in the Cathedral, somewhat like Stations of the Cross.
The music of present and former members of the Compline Choir was represented by the choir’s founder Peter Hallock, Jason Anderson, Scott Kovacs, and Gregory Bloch, in addition to Erin Aas (Compline Choir composer-in-residence), plus Giovanni da Palestrina and Monte Mason.
What can I say about the music of this service?
Achingly beautiful… it immediately transported me and I was struck with the realization that the music and mysticism of Peter Hallock has permeated the walls of this building. I was brought back to the memory of sitting in this very Cathedral at Peter Hallock’s burial service, while the Compline Choir sang the ancient Kontakion at the commendation, from the “Compline Corner” of the Cathedral. I then experienced a wave of profound sadness… knowing that Peter and my husband, Carl, are now both gone.. yet the music lives on in this space.
The unusual Stations of the Cross exhibit in the Cathedral were sculpted by artist Virginia Maksymowicz and are on display through the season of Lent. Maksymowicz used real models rather than abstracted representations, with the hope that “the mixture of models and the anonymity implied by the fragmented figures push the imagery toward representation of the human community in its universal aspect—…”the mystical body of Christ.”
The artist writes, “I hope that this tension will enable interpretations to change over time and resonate with each new instance of human cruelty. Mary’s anguish at encountering her tortured son in Station IV could be the anguish of a mother of a U.S. soldier, of a Syrian child, of a street cop in Brooklyn, of an infant in Darfur, of an urban teenager in Baltimore, of a daughter killed in a London bombing, of a child murdered at his grammar school, and more.”