Sunday 23 December 2012

Where have all the Evensongs gone

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
Last Christmas we had my partner's mother staying with us and decided to go out one evening just before Christmas. We had intended to go to the ballet, but found that everyone (Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Sadlers Wells) was doing The Nutcracker. This year, my partner and I are on our own so we decided to go to Evensong, only to find that there aren't any, everyone is doing carols.

So that tonight Westminster Abbey has said Evening Prayer and service of Lessons and Carols, with the same thing tomorrow. Over at St. Paul's Cathedral there are carol services on both afternoons, and at Southwark Cathedral said Evening Prayer this afternoon with a carol service in the evening then tomorrow there is building the crib followed by Evening Prayer.

Surely everyone doesn't want to sing carols! A few years ago we spent the Christmas holiday in Canterbury and the most magical events were attending sung Evensong on Christmas eve and sung Matins on Christmas morning. The choir was incredibly hard working as they were also singing a carol service on Christmas eve as well as Eucharist on Christmas morning.

There are alternatives, so this evening we will be at All Saints, Margaret Street where Paul Brough and his choir will be singing Byrd and plainchant. Then tomorrow we will go to Westminster Cathedral for sung Vespers (as the music list isn't up on their website I still don't know quite what they will be singing).

If we cared to drive, then we could go to Rochester (where they are doing sung Evensong both days with Ireland in F and Stanford in G) or Canterbury (where they are singing Evensong tomorrow afternoon). But it seems strange the way carols have completely taken over in London, as it that is all that tourists want.

Elsewhere on this blog:

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