The First Church Choir sings Choral Evensong for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 21 at 4pm. Tyler W. Robertson will be featured as the organist. This evensong will feature the music of English Baroque composer Henry Purcell (1659–1695). For the introit, “Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of Our Hearts”; for the anthem, “Hear My Prayer”; and the composer’s Evening Service in G Minor as the canticles. Responses are by Richard Ayleward. The Rev. Dr. Nancy Livingston serves as officiant, and Kevin Jones conducts the choir.
Choral Evensong, or sung evening prayer, is intended as a daily liturgy in the Anglican church. When Thomas Cranmer penned the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549, he combined all of the hourly monastic prayer services into two daily services, Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. In most British Cathedrals, Choral Evensong is sung six days a week. It is increasingly popular in the United States, and has spread beyond The Episcopal Church into some protestant churches with traditional liturgies and music. It is a service of light, music, prayer, and meditation.
The First Church Choir is a 43-member, mixed-voice, adult choir that sings for the 11am service three out of four Sundays each month during their season. They also sing Choral Evensong on the third Sunday of each month as announced. Professional section leaders assist the musicianship and sound as the choir explores five centuries of great choral music. The choir participates in the Congregational Concerts series, including fall and spring choral concerts, Christmas Lessons and Carols, services of Evensong and special music for Holy Week and Easter Day. The choir was in residence at Gloucester Cathedral, UK, in 2015 singing daily services at the Cathedral, and at Norwich and Lincoln Cathedrals in 2018. They have been accepted for a residency week at Winchester Cathedral in 2022.