Preparing for Evensong

“He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek.”

That sentence from the Song of Mary, or the Magnificat, is perhaps one of the most moving phrases you’ll hear when our choir sings Evensong on Sunday, November 13 at 4 p.m. We hope you’ll plan to join us!

We’ve spent the past two months carefully preparing an exquisite program that includes English composer Edward Bainton’s (1880-1956) “And I saw a new heaven” based on Revelation 21. The choir has excelled with this true tour de force. Bainton places the tenors at the top of their range and allows them to deliver one of the most haunting melodies in modern choral literature. You’ll want to listen as the men of the choir proudly proclaim, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Indeed, this section frequently leaves us with tears in our eyes.

The choir will also sing a work by beloved American composer Jane Marshall (b. 1924). “Awake, My Heart” collectively calls us to worship together with a “…song of love and fervor.” Marshall, a Native Texan, (no I’m not partial), remains a formidable force in church music. You may remember we sang her anthem “My Eternal King” last fall.

As our Evensong ministry grows, we hope you’ll learn more about the service itself. Evensong, or Sung Evening Prayer, is essentially a service of reflection – of leaving oneself open that God may speak through Holy Scripture, prayer and music. Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) created Evensong from the sevenfold monastic cycle of prayer. It is sung daily in most Anglican cathedrals throughout the world.

We proudly offer it here at Saint Matthias’ Church seasonally. You’ll find it always includes a choral setting of the aforementioned Song of Mary (Magnificat) as well as The Song of Simeon (Nunc dimittis). Other permanent parts of the service include the opening prayers, or Preces, as well as the sung responses.

We pray you’ll come and enjoy this solemn time together at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on November 13. A festive reception will follow in All Saints’ Hall.

— Jordan Williams, Organist/Choirmaster


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