West Side Presbyterian Church Choir Sings in Benaroya Hall

We all have moments in our life, whether collectively, and individually, when we wonder- “will the night soon pass?” (Isaiah 21:11–12).
During such moments we all look for inspiration and hope, and sacred music throughout the ages has offered an abundance of both.  One of the most powerful pieces of music I know that offers hope following long nights of the soul is Lobgesang by Felix Mendelssohn.  This past April, West Side Presbyterian Church Choir joined the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, ChoralSounds Northwest and choirs from Seattle Pacific University, to sing this profound work in Benaroya Hall.  About two thirds of the way through the piece the tenor soloist sings from Isiah 21:
“Huter, ist die Nacht bald hin? - “Watchman, will the night soon pass?

He asks this question three times- each time the musical request becomes more desperate.

What then is the answer?  

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a lone soprano sings the short simple phrase “Die Nacht is Vergangen” (the night is departing). This is then followed by an eruption of sound, first in the orchestra then joined in with choir, exclaiming the words from Romans 13:12 “and the day has come, so let us cast off darkness and take up the armor of light.” This is one of the most incredible moments in all of music, and the effect, both musically and spiritually, can shatter even the most jaded soul.
C.S Lewis and many writers have often written about how we cannot know profound and deep hope and joy without knowing trials and pain. Music has the amazing ability, like few other mediums, to communicate this profound truth in our lives. Reflecting on it, composers, pieces and moments that I (and maybe you too) appreciate most in music are the pieces that include both poignant moments of sadness or trials, followed by profound joy or hope - for example Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, or a song by Michael W. Smith.

The choir of West Side and myself will never forget our performance of this amazing piece in Benaroya Hall in April, and so you can experience this profound section of music, below is the video of “Die Nacht is Vergangen” (The Night is Departing).