The Guardian says of Evensong that it is “One of England’s richest heritages – a living musical tradition that costs nothing to experience live” and twice a year, we hold a service of Choral Evensong so you have an opportunity to appreciate this wonderful evocative tradition in the ancient surroundings of St Nicholas’ Church.
The service has been sung regularly since the Sixteenth Century, and was based on the services held daily in the medieval church.
Other that the hymns, the music is sung by the Choir. You are asked to join silently in the service while they sing the prayers and other music which they have practiced with care.
Because this is a traditional service, the old forms of the prayers and bible readings are used.
After the introduction to the service, the choir recites the appointed Psalm. which you can follow in the Prayer Book. The Lesson from the Old Testament is read and then the Choir sing the Magnificat, the song of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The New Testament Lesson is followed by the Nunc Dimittis, the song of Simeon, sung by the choir.
We say together the Apostles’ Creed, then prayers are sung by a Cantor and Choir, ending with the Collects where we collect our thoughts. An anthem is sung and a final hymn ends the service, at which a retiring collection is taken.
If you get a chance, come along to this rarely-held service, to be steeped in history, and hear singing which “evokes the choirs of the best Oxford colleges.” (Colin Smith)