Choral Evensong (The Return!)
Time & Location
About the Event
Choral Evensong: Sunday 4th July 6pm
All Saints Church, Northallerton
We are delighted to be singing our first Choral Evensong to be since March 2020!
The service will be sung in the Nave, allowing for social distancing of the congregation. Please request tickets for this service to help that we can ensure adequate seating is available - no problem if you don't you won't be turned away without one!
Introit: Locus Iste (Bruckner)
Preces & Responses: Sanders
Canticles: Brewer in D major
Anthem: Blessed be the God and Father (Wesley)
Hymns: Come down O love divine (arr. Harris)
O Praise ye the Lord (Laudate Dominum arr. Schweiser)
Organ Voluntary: Allegro from Symphonie No.2 (Vierne)
Officiant: The Rev Fiona Mayer-Jones
Preacher: The Rt Rev Gordon Bates
Organist & Choirmaster: Mr Tom Honeyman
Organist: Mr Charles Wooler
Choral Evensong is a 45-min long peace-inducing church service in which the song of voices sounding together in harmony is heard at the even point between the active day and restful night, allowing listeners time for contemplation – church members, agnostics and atheists alike. It is both free of charge and free from requirement
Cranmer’s Evensong starts with the chanting of the Old Testament Psalms, written by King David, with his harp. Their mantra-like repetition often helps create a peaceful atmosphere, but one that is soon interrupted by the exuberant burst of the Magnificat - the song of a young woman, Mary, rejoicing at the prospect of the birth of her child, Jesus – and then made solemn by the New Testament's Nunc Dimittis – the song of an old man, Simeon, gently facing his death, eye-to-eye, now his life has been fulfilled by meeting Jesus. A major aspect of the genius of the service is the balance between female and male, young and old, and Old and New Testament in these Canticles. An anthem follows that fits the mood of the day, and the service finishes after a second hymn. Afterwards the church resonates with the playing of the organ, often one of the great organ works of Bach.
Choral Evensong follows the wording of the Book of Common Prayer. Although the definitive version was published in 1662, it includes much of the original 1549 version, including the translation of the psalms by Myles Coverdale, which precedes the version in the King James Bible of 1611. Many church services apart from Choral Evensong are now conducted in modern English. For a directory of churches that use the Book of Common Prayer in their services, see the website of the Prayer Book Society, which promotes its use and understanding.
Come and try it!
The interspersing of these varied musical forms amongst passages of beautiful spoken liturgy and moments of contemplative silence lends a balance, completeness, and complex psychology to the form of the choral evensong service.
The high proportion of music in the Evensong service is arguably what distinguishes it from other church services. As mentioned above, you do not have to pay to come to hear this choral music, performed live to a high standard. And music is very good at carrying us beyond the limitations of human words towards those things we cannot articulate. The Magnificat is a joyful song, the Nunc Dimittis a sung plea, the Psalms pure praise. Music's communication of these feelings is immediate.
Whatever we may believe, choral evensong is a beautiful tradition just waiting to be witnessed that can give respite and inspiration during our busy modern lives.