A service of Choral Evensong usually lasts approximately 45 minutes and is a great opportunity for your choir to expand into a repertoire that is not part of a regular Sunday morning service. In the larger Anglican churches and cathedrals, Evensong is a daily service. Here in the U.S., many churches have a Choral Evensong each Sunday afternoon, once a month, some once a quarter, others, just on special occasions. For the congregation, Choral Evensong offers an opportunity to gather and spend time in prayer while listening and participating in music that is especially selected to bring us into deeper understanding of the mysteries of our faith.
Traditionally, Choral Evensong is based on the services held daily in the medieval Church. The service is arranged in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England has been sung regularly since the sixteenth century. The language is traditional, although you may certainly change it to suit the tastes of your congregation.
In Choral Evensong the choir sings on “behalf of” the congregation. The settings of the Canticles of Mary (Magnificat) and Simeon (Nunc dimittis) are sung by the choir alone. The Suffrages (Preces) and the Responses between the Officiant and People are also sung between the Officiant and Choir on behalf of the people. This allows the congregation time to meditate and enter into deeper prayer through words and music. The congregation participates in the singing of the hymns, the Apostle’s Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. And there are other opportunities for the choir (such as an anthem) as well.
The Preces, sung by the Officiant and the choir.
Phos Hilaron - a setting of "O Gracious Light" sung by the choir or as a congregational hymn. (optional)
A Psalm appointed for the day, sung by the choir.
The First Lesson appointed for the day, read by a priest or layreader.
A hymn sung by the choir and congregation. (optional)
A setting of the Magnificat sung by the choir.
The Second Lesson appointed for the day, read by a priest or layreader.
A setting of the Nunc dimittis sung by the choir.
The Apostle's Creed, chanted on a monotone by the choir and congregation.
The Suffrages, sung by the Officiant and the choir.
The Evening Collects, chanted by the Officiant.
An Anthem, appropriate for the day or season, sung by the choir.
Closing Prayer(s) said by a priest. (optional)
A Hymn sung by the choir and congregation.
We have all the necessary and optional sung materials available on the site, as well as a "downloadable" order of service. Of course, these are just some suggestions. There are MANY more options available on sjmp.com!
Anglican Chant Psalm Settings (There are many of these chants available. Here are the ones on our site.)
Anthems can be found here, but you can certainly do any anthem appropriate for the day or season.
In addition - we have a beautiful and easy setting of The Grace (usually said by the priest at the end of the service, but easily sung as well.)