A short explanation to help you understand one of our services, as the name suggests, it’s on our evening service.
Evensong is the common or usual name for a Christian church service originating in the Anglican or Church of England tradition and held since the reformation and was often referred to as the Daily Office.
Typically, the church has had two daily services, in the morning called, Morning prayer (sometimes called Mattins or Matins) and Evening prayer or Evensong when this service is celebrated with music or choral music.
These services are generally celebrated using a service book called The Book of Common Prayer.
These services are centred around readings from the Bible and singing of psalms (a sacred song or hymn) also including a song or hymn about Mary, and a song or hymn about Simeon however as you can imagine different versions are used in different churches around the world
In a full choral Evensong service, (usually held in Cathedrals) all of the service except the confession of our sins, lessons, and some of the final prayers are sung or chanted by the vicar or priest and the choir.
In Cathedrals, or on particularly important days in the churches calendar, the canticles (a Hymn or chant) are performed in elaborate musical settings.
In churches where a choir is not present, simpler versions of the psalms (sacred song or hymn) are usually sung by the congregation, sometimes with responses spoken rather than sung.
Said services of Evening Prayer, where the musical setting is omitted altogether, can also sometimes referred to as Evensong.
The choral or sung part of Evensong begins with the opening responses sung by the minister and choir (or congregation) one after the other.
The psalms (sacred song or hymns) are then sung usually in a style known as a chant or sometimes called plainsong, special settings of the psalms may also be used instead. (If you’ve ever seen clips on TV with monks chanting, then more often than not, its plainsong)
As you can imagine there are countless settings, but a number of composers have contributed works which are performed on a regular basis.
Besides the psalms and canticles, the service may also include hymns, the first of these may be called the Office Hymn and will usually be closely tied to the Churches theme of the day and may be an ancient plainchant setting. This will usually be sung just before the psalm(s) or immediately before the first canticle and may be sung by the choir alone. Otherwise any hymns normally come toward the end of the service, maybe one either side of the sermon (if there is one) or following the anthem. These hymns will generally be sung by the congregation.