679 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT 06119
The ancient and beautiful service of Choral Evensong is presented on the fourth Sunday of selected months at St. John’s. Join us on January 26 at 5:00pm for music by the Choir School of Hartford, and Trinity Church Choir; Jackson Merrill, choirmaster; Scott Lamlein, organist.
Musical Selections for January 26:
Canticles: Murrill in E
Anthem: Salvation (Horsley)
Organ: Praeludium (Kodály), Carillon (Murrill)
(Scroll down for more details about the music and the guest choirs.)
Click here for Service Leaflet.
What is Choral Evensong? “Evensong … is a very tiny fragment of something else: it is a fragment of the worship which is offered to God by Christian people every hour in every part of the world. When you come to Evensong here it is as if you were dropping in on a conversation already in progress — a conversation between God and people which began long before you were born and will go on long after you are dead.”
Why celebrate Evensong? Evensong offers to us the 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.
How long does Choral Evensong last? Approximately 35-45 minutes
What should I expect at Evensong? Hymns, readings, Anglican chant and anthems sung by the choir
Will there be a sermon? No.
Why does the choir sing so much at Choral Evensong? In Choral Evensong the choir sings on “behalf of” the congregation. The settings of the Canticles of Mary (Magnificat) and Simeon (Nunc Dimittis) are always sung by the choir alone. The Suffrages (prayers) 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.
What does the congregation do in Evensong? The congregation joins in the singing of the hymns, the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. The congregation joins in silent meditation through the prayers and canticles.
How will I know what I should do during the service? A bulletin outlining the service will be available.
What is a canticle? A canticle (from the Latin canticulum, a diminutive of canticum, song) is a hymn (strictly excluding the Psalms) taken from the Bible.
Please plan on joining us for this beautiful and uniquely Anglican form of worship.
More about the musical selections for January 26:
The service on January 26 includes choral settings by English composers Philip Radcliffe (1905-1986) and Herbert Murrill (1909-1952), and by Michelle Horsely, Organist and Minister of Music at South Church in New Britain. The service is framed by music played by Scott Lamlein on the 3,271-pipe Austin organ at St. John’s, opening with a chorale-prelude by J.S. Bach and closing with the sprightly “Carillon” by Herbert Murrill.
Philip Radcliffe’s music for the Preces and Responses, one of the oldest forms of prayer in Christianity and traditionally sung at morning and evening prayer, has been described as “a gentle and effective setting of great warmth and lyricism.” Herbert Murrill’s setting of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, composed while he served in the British Intelligence Corps during World War II, offers a study in contrasts, the Magnificat having “a fiery, relentless quality,” while the Nunc dimittis is “slow and majestic with a rhythmic Gloria.”
Composed in 2019 for the Chancel Choir of South Church, New Britain, and first performed by that ensemble in December, Michelle Horsley’s “Salvation” is highly rhythmic, drawing the listener in with waves of rising and falling vocal lines. (Horsely is also the featured organist in the May 3 edition of Pipes Alive!, the free organ recital series at St. John’s.)
About the Choirs of Trinity Church, Hartford: The Trinity Choir is a four-part semi-professional ensemble of men and women that sings for the Sunday morning Eucharist at Trinity Church as well as periodic services of Evensong and Compline and concerts throughout the year.
About the Choir School of Hartford: The Choir School of Hartford is a non-profit organization community chorister program based at Trinity Church in Hartford. The Choir School, following the English Cathedral style and the model of the Royal School of Church Music in America, has been training young singers at Trinity for over a decade and provides a comprehensive choral education curriculum in the Anglican tradition free of charge to Hartford area youth. In England, the singers have performed at Ely Cathedral, St. Alban’s Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral, and the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Titchmarsh. They have also performed at the Washington National Cathedral, and in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and St. Bartholomew’s Church. In Hartford, the ensemble has appeared at Hartford Seminary, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, and the Governor’s Mansion.
About Jackson Merrill: Jackson Merrill is Organist and Director of Music Ministries at Trinity Church in Hartford, Connecticut. He is also the Choral Director for Trinity Academy of Hartford and Music Director of The Choir School of Hartford. He and his wife Allison live in Middletown, Connecticut.