Classical composer George Frederick Handel was born in 1685 in what’s now east-central Germany. He emigrated to England when he was in his mid-20s and spent the rest of his career there. Other composers have had high praise for Handel, including giants like Mozart and Beethoven. Handel composed everything from chamber music to organ works, but he’s perhaps most famous for his choral works. The most famous of all is the “Hallelujah” chorus from part two of his Messiah oratorio (a piece for orchestra, choir and soloists), which he composed in 1741. It’s a thunder of trumpets, drums, and voices.
A vow of silence has featured in the monastic traditions of several different religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. Perhaps more familiar are the Christian orders in which the monks take the vow: Benedictines and Trappists are especially well-known for this. In some orders, the monks can speak in certain places and at certain times while in others, more devoted to prayer and contemplation, there’s practically no relaxation of the requirement for silence.
A group of students at the South Kitsap High School in Washington state had an interesting idea for their Christmas concert. They’d perform the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah but as monks who’ve taken a vow of silence! How do they square this circle? You’ll have to find out by watching the video, which we’ve posted below. Dressed in monastic habits, their faces covered by the hoods, the students do a great job with the Messiah, despite their vow. The audience loves it and can’t stop cracking up.
How did you like these “monks” and their creative end-run around their vow of silence? Let us know in the Facebook comments. Don’t forget to like and share so your friends can get festive and have a big laugh while they’re at it.