Sydney Avey

Dynamic Women — Changing Times

View from the choir pew: Thoughts on Allhallowtide

Oct 31, 2018 | Faith | 0 comments

rehearsal for All Souls Day

This is my view from the choir over the orchestra to music director. A harp and a brass section are to my right.

From where I sit in a choir pew rehearsing the Fauré Requiem, I get a full appreciation of the season. In addition to the fun costume and candy parade, this season comprises many celebrations. Historically, Allhallowtide is a three-day period devoted to the remembrance of the departed faithful. (It corresponds to the Mexican Day of the Dead, a time to remember deceased family and friends.)

To break it down, Halloween, October 31, has its roots in both religious observances and harvest festivals. Reformation Day, when Martin Luther nailed his reform proposals to a Catholic church door, also falls on October 31. On November 1, All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints Day,  honors the saints, known and unknown. All Souls’ Day, a day to commemorate our deceased relatives, follows on November 2.


This Allhallowtide, I’m privileged to sing the Fauré Requiem, a 35-minute choral-orchestral Catholic Mass for the dead in Latin. Members of the Christ Presbyterian Chancel Choir were invited to join their Catholic counterparts at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale, AZ for All Souls’ Day Mass. It will be held on Friday evening at 6:45 pm. The purpose is to offer the gift of remembrance to all who attend.

For me, singing such deeply moving music mindfully in this beautiful space is a bucket-list experience. I’m aware that theological differences exist in the liturgy. But we are one in our expression of reverence for Christ, love for the people who have preceded us in death, and hope that we will see them again in eternity.

I have renewed appreciation for this seasonal portal to the end-of-year holidays. As the weather cools, pumpkin orange and gingerbread brown colors warm us. Cinnamon, allspice, and cloves scent the air. And the hearts that embrace the laughter of tiny trick-or-treaters and the solemn, thrilling music that stirs deeper emotions show us the way of peace.

Happy Halloween!



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