Hastings choirs still sing of Christmas peace

Posted 1/6/21

By Bruce Karnick [email protected] Rick and Sylvia Powell wrote a simple, yet wonderful melody to blend with Silent Night. Peace, Peace was arranged by Fred Bock and has sold over one million …

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Hastings choirs still sing of Christmas peace


By Bruce Karnick

[email protected]

Rick and Sylvia Powell wrote a simple, yet wonderful melody to blend with Silent Night. Peace, Peace was arranged by Fred Bock and has sold over one million copies worldwide. In 1985, Hastings High School had a new director for its choirs, the one and only Mr. Lin Warren. For the holiday concert, Mr. Warren started a wonderful holiday tradition. All the choirs would come together as one at the end of the Christmas concert and sing Peace, Peace. The lyrics are simple and beautiful, calming and moving.

“Peace, peace, peace on earth and good will to all this is a time for joy this is a time for love now let us all sing together of peace, peace, peace on earth.”

That phrase repeats, each time splitting the singers into different harmonies over the initial vocal pattern. On its own, the music becomes entrancing. Eventually, the choirs split further with some continuing with Peace, Peace, while others sing Silent Night. Once combined, the two sets of lyrics, the music, everything, becomes magical. For those that have experienced it, the educated guess is, by now, you have the chills thinking of it.

This all started before the current director, Luke Warren was born. One thing Luke always knew growing up was, he wanted to be like his father. Luke spent much of his childhood in the choir room with dad and upon his retirement on May 21st, 2017, Lin passed the baton to his son in front of hundreds of alumni singers and guests in the High School auditorium.

Luke continued the tradition of singing Peace, Peace at every Christmas concert, an important holiday tradition. Sadly, the holiday concert this year was cancelled due to COVID restrictions. But Luke had already begun working on plan B.

“[I had] Select Chorale and Bel Canto students (our 11th and 12th graders basically) submit either an audio track or a video track of themselves singing to a premade track that I made with accompaniment and their part to ‘sing with’,” Warren explained.

“We had about one hundred students submit either audio or video [recordings]. We even had some parents and alumni parents submit videos and audio tracks! Which was super cool! I mixed all of the audio – probably spent 60-70 hours on it. A choir senior Will Clifford did all the video mixing. That probably took him 100+ hours,” Warren continued.

“These virtual choir projects are things that programs around the country are hiring professional video editors to create – so to be able to have a student willing to take it on and use his skills to make it is truly remarkable,” Warren added.

Warren surprised the community on December 22nd at 8:59 am by sharing the video on Facebook along with this message.

“As some of you know (and many may not), every year at the end of our Holiday Concert, we bring all the choirs together en mass to sing Peace, Peace – this is a tradition that was started by my dad in 1985.

It was really important for our students (particularly our seniors) to continue this tradition – so – in spite of all the challenges, our Select Chorale and Bel Canto members made individual videos and audio tracks of themselves singing Peace, Peace. I mixed all of the audio and senior Will Clifford did the video work. It is a tedious and time-consuming process to mix the more than 100 submissions of audio and video that we had. We even had a few parents and alums submit videos!

Bravo to Will for creating such a beautiful final product.

And now, without further ado, the HHS Bel Canto and Select Chorale present Peace, Peace (the Virtual Edition)!”

Now, before you run off to listen, there is one thing that was not explained earlier, and that was done on purpose. We have all been in an auditorium of some kind, movie theaters likely being the smallest, so you should all be able to picture this. Imagine several hundred students not only on stage, but on every step in every aisle of the auditorium. Students surrounding the audience. The lights are on, but barely, it feels like the auditorium is lit by candlelight. There is fresh snow on the ground outside and when the concert is over, you’re going home to prepare for your traditional Christmas celebration. When you find the video, put it on your surround system if you are sharing it with your family and if you are listening by yourself, put on a pair of quality headphones and grab some tissues.

Watch the amazing video that was put together by these kids.

Then start it over, this time, lean back, click play and close your eyes. Imagine the scene as set above, look around at these kids singing their hearts out for you in eight-part harmony singing two different songs together.

Enjoy the moment of peace, peace, peace on earth.