Festive Chapel Choir Service
Chapel Choir Evensong at Peterborough Cathedral – Wednesday 7 December 2022
Report from Mr Brain, Head of Music:
The Autumn Term proved a busy time for Chapel Choir, singing for Speech Day and going on tour to Norfolk. It was a delight to be able to take the Choir to sing for Choral Evensong which is not only a beautiful and reflective religious service, its also part of our cultural heritage, linking together 16th Century language and theology with music and prayer.
The Choir were in excellent and excitable form, despite the cold weather, working very hard to prepare and sing the music to the required high standard. There was a lot for the children to do between processing around the large gothic cathedral and navigating their way between six separate times of music to sing. Accompanying the Choir from the Organ was our very own Fr. Toby, who in addition to being our school Chaplain is a talented Organ player in his own right. This was the first time Fr. Toby had played the Cathedral Organ, which is a very large and complicated instrument. Fr. Toby soon got the measure of the Organ and had a wonderful time accompanying the Choir.
As part of the service, the Choir had to sing Psalm 14, the Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, and an anthem, which all form part of the daily office. The Psalms are rotated during the course of each month so that a portion of them are sung every day. The Mangificat (the song of Mary) and Nunc Dimittis (the song of Simeon) are always treated as a pair for this service and are referred to as the evening canticles. There are hundreds of different settings. The setting the Choir sang on this occasion were by the Twentieth Century composer George Dyson in the key of C minor. Although set for unison treble/soprano voices, they are a dramatic and energetic set of canticles which are a favourite of the current Sixth Form choristers.
Our anthem was called The Truth from Above by another Twentieth Century composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams. The text is highly appropriate for the season of Advent and the tune is regarded as a classic for this time of the year. The text relates first to the Adam and the ‘Fall of Man’ in the Garden of Eden before reflecting on the hope that this later gives to us all by the birth of Jesus.
The Choir sang very well indeed, and I was very proud of them all. Our visit was made all the more special by the fantastic support given to us by all the parents who came to Evensong to support us.