A Special Participatory Evensong This Sunday February 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford: Christ Church Cathedral welcomes renowned church musician Dr. Stuart Forster from Christ Church, Cambridge, MA for a masterclass and festival Evensong. Dr. Forster's book Hymn-Playing: A Modern Colloquium has just been published by Morningstar Press, and he will give a masterclass at 3:00 for young organists. The Evensong is based entirely on hymnody; instead of the usual choral anthems, there will be robust hymns with Dr. Forster at the organ and descants from the Cathedral Choir and members of the St. John's Choirs. All are invited to come and sing along and make a joyful noise!
Next Evensong: Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. at Trinity Church, Hartford
RSCM FESTIVAL EVENSONG combining area intergenerational choirs
at Trinity Church, 120 Sigourney Street, Hartford
Click to read about (and listen to) Evensong sung April 10, 2011 by the St. John's and Trinity Church, Hartford Choirs at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City
Evensong, or sung Evening Prayer, is an offering in song to God, the giver of all beauty and goodness. Based on services held daily in the medieval Church, Evensong as arranged in the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church has been sung regularly since the sixteenth century. This atmospheric and deeply personal form of worship appeals to persons of many faiths and has been adopted as an American tradition in many parishes and cathedrals of the Episcopal Church. In this service the music is sung by the Choir, and we participate by listening to and meditating on the praises, prayers and petitions which the Choir offers on our behalf. We all join the Choir in singing the Creed, certain prayers, and hymns.
After the introduction to the service, the Choir sings a Psalm. We can think about the Psalms, the hymn book of the Temple at Jerusalem, as Jesus did when he used them. A lesson usually from the Old Testament (except on Saints days and in Easter season) follows, and a hymn. The Choir then sings the first of the traditional Evening Canticles, Magnificat, the song of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the promises of the Old Testament came true (Luke 1). A Lesson from the New Testament proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ, followed by Nunc Dimittis, the song of the aged Simeon when he had seen Jesus presented at the Temple at Jerusalem (Luke 2). Nunc Dimittis is a particularly appropriate text at the end of one's day.
All then sing the Apostles' Creed, an expression of faith of those who, generation by generation, respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Prayers are sung by the Choir, ending with the "Collects" which collect our thoughts. An Anthem, blessing and Hymn follow.
The timeless and simple liturgy of Evensong readily embraces musical expressions from many centuries. The Choir's responses are drawn from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which remains the standard form of the text for many musical settings owing to the unique beauty of its cadences and imagery. Other service elements are drawn from the Rite I form of service in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.
From service notes as adapted from the Evensong Leaflet of
Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York.
Listen to an Evensong (October 2011) sung at St. John's Church, combining the youth and adult choirs of St. John's Church and Trinity Church, Hartford in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of The Rev'd Joseph L. Pace as Rector of St. John's: Click here for podcast
Listen to an Evensong (February 2011) sung at St. John's Church:
Download the service leaflet: Evensong020611.pdf
Read about this event in West Hartford News: Choral Evensong at St. John's