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Impressive Video: Flash Mob Sings Handel's Hallelujah and Gets 8 Million Views

By John Ritchie   
December 09, 2011

Surprise Rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Wows Shoppers

Unsuspecting shoppers at Macy’s were dazzled by a surprise rendition of Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus on October 30 in Philadelphia.  When the 650 choristers, accompanied by the Wanamaker organ -- the largest organ in the world -- finished singing the Christmas classic, the mall erupted with applause.

The timeless beauty of good music left its mark.  “We are all drawn a little bit closer to heaven when we hear this played and sung,” said one of the 8 million people who later saw footage of the event.

The video has 5,000 more comments.

Another added:  “The Church at one time used to be in the center of the marketplace. The Church was central to the culture with various forms of art. So as you look at what took place at Macy’s, it is not a far cry from how the Church used to be accepted.”

One more: “There is a certain lack of beauty in much of today’s music, as well as a lack of dignity. By the way, have you noticed how little of today’s music is beautiful? It’s cool, funky, raw, radical, jazzy, upbeat -- but not beautiful.”

A Living Tradition

King George II
King George II

The crown jewel of Handel’s Messiah is the “Hallelujah” chorus, which highlights passages of the New Testament. In concert halls around the word, audiences always stand up for the “Hallelujah.” This long-standing tradition originated when the Messiah premiered in London in the presence of King George II.  When the first chords of the chorus began, the king rose and remained standing.

Royal protocol has it that whenever a monarch stands, those in his or her presence should also stand as a sign of respect.  Therefore, on this occasion, both the audience and the orchestra stood with the king.

Why did the king stand?  The king’s gesture acknowledged Handel’s great musical genius.  But more importantly, King George II rose for a higher reason.  Standing for the majestic strains of “King of kings, Lord of lords,” he was accepting his place as a subject of the King of kings.

The beautiful tradition has endured for two centuries.

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Myung-whun Chung of South Korea conducts the "Hallelujah" in Santa Maria della
Minerva Catholic Church, Rome.  The rendition is fast but still wonderful.

Sir Colin Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and the Tenebrae Choir

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Last Updated ( February 12, 2013 )

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