You can find this on YouTube:
(30 minutes; available until Thu, 1 Jan 2099)
The first one is a “Flash mob”: 100 members of a choir gathered in a Canadian Food Hall.
The Food Hall was in on it; the pianist stopped playing christmas numbers (it was November 2010) and started playing the Hallelujah Chorus. At just the right moment, this spunky girl, dressed in jeans & a leather coat, stood up from her chair at a table and belted out the beginning:– five Hallelujah’s – a soprano, I think – whilst still holding her mobile to her ear. You should see the looks of all the people around her as she does this! As she finishes, a chap with a beard, wearing a sweatshirt, climbs up on his chair & belts out his reply – another five Hallelujah’s – he is a tenor, I think. Then it is a man & a woman, stood at the side, who continue with “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth”. Two folks opposite them climb on their chairs, and give the reply of another five Hallelujah’s. That is also the moment for one of the funniest incidents, as a chap in overalls, and carrying a ‘wet floor’ sign, walking past just as they stand up, joins in with the reply, holding his “Caution - Wet Floor” sign aloft as he sings. I do not think that he was one of the choir.
It is less than 5 minutes long, yet is one of the most uplifting videos that I have watched. The looks on the children & grandmother’s faces in the unwitting audience is a joy to behold. Many folks watching joined in, and some were in tears afterwards. Listen for the bit at 2:32 where the girls begin to sing “King of Kings / and Lord of Lords”, with the men replying “For ever, and ever / Hallelujah, Hallelujah” to each section. They sing it three times. It starts at a low pitch, and goes up the octave 5 times. By the end of that section, the top of your head is coming off.
I was the conductor once for a choir that gave a performance in the Victoria Centre close to Christmas. We gave a great performance, yet it wasn’t a patch on this one.
The second is “Soul Music”; a 30 minute radio programme, all about the The Hallelujah Chorus. Marvellous.
They tell an anecdote from the time. The Hallelujah Chorus is the final part of ‘Messiah’, written by Handel. He received the words from his collaborator, and began to compose. That would normally take months to finish, yet just 24 days later he was finished. Near the end of that time, his servant entered the room where Handel was working. The entire room was strewn with the papers of his musical composition. Handel was standing in the middle of this confusion, near his piano. His hair was as wild as the state of the room, and Handel had an extraordinary look on his face. The music for The Hallelujah Chorus was in his hands. As the servant entered, Handel turned towards him, and said “I have seen the face the God”. The servant dropped the tray that he was carrying, and fled from the room!
I hope that you enjoy this music.
--------- Alex Kemp