Choral Evensong

music-04At Saint Mary’s, Choral Evensong occurs monthly on the Second Sunday of the month from October through May at 4 pm.

Based on the services held daily in the medieval Church, Choral Evensong as arranged in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England has been sung regularly since the sixteenth century. Many people who are new to the Episcopal Church or to liturgical worship enjoy the contemplative feel of Evensong.

Evensong is part of what is called the Daily Office, a bi-yearly rotation of lessons from Scripture and a monthly rotation of psalms woven between consistent prayers and canticles. The Daily Office is intended to be said twice a day: Morning Prayer (or Mattins, when sung), and Evening Prayer (or Evensong, when sung). The Daily Office is designed to expose the worshipper to the bulk of Holy Scripture over a two-year cycle. While St. Mary’s only offers Evensong monthly, many people find private recitation of the daily office to be quite enriching.

The structure of Choral Evensong is generally as follows:

  • hymn sung by the choir and congregation.
  • The Opening Sentence of Scripture said by a priest.
  • The Confession of Sin said by the congregation.
  • The Introit, sung by the choir immediately after they process in.
  • The Responses, sung by the Officiant (a priest) and the choir.
  • Psalm or Psalms appointed for the day, sung by the choir.
  • The First Lesson appointed for the day, read by a priest.
  • A setting of the Magnificat sung by the choir.
  • The Second Lesson appointed for the day, read by a priest.
  • A setting of the Nunc dimittis sung by the choir.
  • The Apostle’s Creed, said by the choir and congregation.
  • Prayers sung by a priest and the choir.
  • The Evening Collects, chanted by a priest.
  • Greetings by a priest, directed to the congregation.
  • An anthem appropriate for the day, sung by the choir.
  • prayer said by a priest.
  • hymn sung by the choir and congregation.

During the season of Easter the service concludes with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.