Thursday, March 23, 2017


Hallelujah! Alright already.

It was on this day in 1743, that George Frideric Handel’s oratorio "Messiah" had its London premiere. During the famous Hallelujah Chorus, King George II was so moved by the music that he involuntarily rose from his seat. The audience, out of respect for the king, also stood up. Ever since, it has been a tradition that the audience rises during the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus.

That is from today’s The Writer’s Almanac. I’ve never been to a performance of the Messiah, though I’ve heard it many times.  And many more times than that, I’ve heard the “Hallelujah Chorus.” If I’m alone in the house, I sing at the top of my lungs.

I’ve seen the whole performance on television, and I never knew why the audience, or congregation in that instance, all rose for the chorus. Now I know.

I brought to mind a little bit of family lore I absorbed as a “little pitcher with big ears.”  My grandmother was relating how, during the years of World War II, my grandfather refused to stand with everyone else in the audience when a patriotic song – perhaps “God Bless America” – was played in the theater before a movie. He refused to stand because the song they were playing was not our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” My grandmother thought about it, said “Oh!” and sat down.

It’s interesting how a bit of information will set my mental cogs to turn and come up with some distantly related memory or topic.

Happy Thursday!  - or, remembering my Steinbeck: Sweet Thursday. (See how those cogs turn?)

Did you ever hear the Hallelujah Chorus sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?
Powerful. Gives you chills.

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