Thursday, June 30, 2005


Last night, we sang our second evensong in preparation for the trip to England. More people showed up, and we seemed more focused on the service. There was, of course, a familiar sense of being slightly sweaty under our cottas and cassacks, something we felt a lot during our '02 trip. We were less tense than we were two weeks ago -- after not singing or working together for nearly a month, having only about 15 minutes worth of warm-up and practice -- this time we had a better sense of bowing to the discipline of a service that proceeds forward without much pause or interruption. It's ancient form dictates the order even as each musical piece is a variation or embellishment, a pronouncement that differs from other works using the same texts.

In evensong,for congregant or choir member, together we end the day in celebration, praise and prayer. How intrusive to our regularly patterned world of movement, rushing around, the sounds of televisions and automobiles and the tinny echo of thoughtless modern life always in our ears. In evensong, we recognize our mortality -- our short lives -- along with the ever continuing company of saints that preceded us, that is with us, that will be with us. We pray for the sick, for the world and its wars, for parish efforts, for the church in whole. We offer thanksgivings.

And we recognize that this is the end of an actual day. How little we recognize individual days and our parts in them.

Rehearsal started soon after, and we even didn't do badly on Leighton's Second Service, something I have not been looking forward to revisiting.

Next Wednesday's evensong will include:

Richard Webster, Preces & Responses in the Mixolydian Mode
Charles V. Stanford, Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in C
Ned Rorem, Thee, God ... (from 3 Motets, based on poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins)

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