Choral Evensong is regarded as one of England’s richest musical heritages, and is free to experience
The choral repertoire has been inspired by the English Cathedral tradition, which has evolved over the past 500 years. Typically, the music we sing is for four voices (SATB), although much of the repertoire includes settings and anthems for double choir.
Music for Choral Evensong can range from medieval plainsong and polyphony to more contemporary music by 20th century composers, depending on the liturgical or Christian year. We have a wide repertoire of music reflecting the great English choral tradition, from late Renaissance composers such as William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tallis, through to the popular ‘modern’ composers including Charles Stanford, Herbert Sumsion, Edward Bairstow, and Herbert Howells.
".....thank you to your choir for singing Evensong at Wells Cathedral. We really enjoyed their contributions both musically and in fellowship. All the hard work that goes into the music preparation and rehearsals in advance is greatly appreciated...."
The Very Reverend Dr John Davies DL. Dean of Wells
In Ecclesia during lockdown
As a choir, we are used to coming together throughout the year to meet friends and unite in musical harmony. As with many choirs, this is something we have missed during the Covid-19 restrictions. However, we now look forward to a year of wonderful music and evensongs in some of the most beautiful buildings in the country. Until then, please enjoy these motets from our own ‘virtual choir’.
“A church without a choir is like a body without a soul” ..... John Rutter
What is Choral Evensong?
Based on the daily services held in the medieval Church, Choral Evensong has been sung regularly as part of the Daily Office since the 16th century. As arranged in the Book of Common Prayer, this long tradition of Anglican choral music has provided a powerful sense of connection with the past, and many enjoy the contemplative feel which the service brings.
Who sings what?
The service is lead by the clergy and choir, with the congregation singing a hymn appointed for the day. It is therefore considered a service of reflection towards the end of the day, although the music itself can be both moving and uplifting.
The sung parts of the service are typically:
An Introit: sung by the choir
The Responses: sung by the Officiant and the choir
Psalms appointed for the day: sung by the choir
The Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (canticles): sung by the choir
An Anthem: appropriate for the day and sung by the choir
A Hymn: sung by the choir and congregation
The service lasts approximately 45 minutes