EASTER!!! When I was a very little girl “Easter” meant the fun of dyeing eggs, discovering a basket of goodies on Easter morn (would there be a chocolate bunny?) and wearing my prettiest dress, patent leather “Mary-Jane shoes, a new Easter bonnet and — yes, white gloves — to church. No Sunday school that day — we got to sit with our parents in the “big church.” Even in those early years, what captivated me most about the service was the MUSIC!! I still remember the first time I heard a choir sing “Hallelujah” from Handel’s MESSIAH. What a surprise to see the congregation STAND UP when the choir started those first bars “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” — and they stayed up for the whole song! But though I was young, it did seem a totally appropriate response to hearing those splendid voices and that amazingly GLORIOUS organ!
At that tender age, however, I had no idea that in 1741 George Frederic Handel had written his entire famous oratorio MESSIAH in 24 (TWENTY-FOUR !!) short days at the invitation of the Lord Lieutenant of Dublin, Ireland.
The performance was to be a fund-raiser and hoping for the maximum crowd, ladies were requested NOT to wear hoops and men NOT to wear their swords, thereby making room for more people. As a result over 700 attended the premier performance! It was a HUGE success and the proceeds generously benefited 3 important charities. When performed at a later date in London, it is said that King George II attended and was so moved by the performance of “Hallelujah” that he rose to his feet. According to royal protocol, when a king or queen stands, everyone else must stand until the monarch sits down; hence, the tradition of rising has lasted to this day!
Fact or fiction? It really matters little.... because the truth is that the majesty of that music makes us WANT to rise — giving God honor and praise — as our spirits are lifted up with a mixture of spine-tingling JOY, celebration and triumph! Click on this link and listen to the largest virtual version of this astounding piece of music .... and — Maybe you will even feel moved to rise to your feet? AND EVEN BETTER… come to hear our OWN NMCC choir sing it on Easter Sunday — accompanied with organ and strings.
Looking forward to seeing you there !!!
HALLELUJAH! CHRIST IS RISEN!! HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!