Choral Evensong: March 10 at 5:00 p.m.
The final Evensong of St. Peter’s 2018/19 anniversary season will be sung on Sunday, March 10 at 5:00 p.m. and will include a thoroughly American expression of music for this liturgy. A new set of Preces and Responses (the “Ladue Responses”) written for St. Peter’s 150th will be sung for the first time.
Evensong is a service of scripture, prayer, and music in the evening, and it has been sung regularly at St. Peter’s for more than a quarter century. This service held on March 10 is one of three Evensong services that was planned to mark St. Peter’s sesquicentennial year. In the first service in October, the choir and congregation sang music from either side of the year of St. Peter’s founding in 1868. This music was all by English composers.
In the second service, the choir was to sing music dating from the midst of this parish’s first 150 years. The canticles were by T. Tertius Noble, an Englishman who made his way to St. Thomas Church, New York, and provided a significant “bridge” between the English church and the American one. (Due to inclement weather, this service was canceled. We plan to sing this music at the first Evensong service in the fall.)
Now, in our third and final Evensong of this season, we celebrate the uniquely American music that has grown up around this beloved service known as Choral Evensong. The canticles are the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in D by Leo Sowerby (1895–1968). Sowerby was known as the “Dean of American Chruch Music” and held significant positions at St. James Cathedral, Chicago, and the Washington National Cathedral.
The remainder of the choral music at this service has close ties to the Evensong tradition at St. Peter’s. The Introit is by Kathryn Smith Bowers (b. 1948), a former member of the St. Peter’s Singers. The anthem is by Gregory Roig, who is currently a bass in the St. Peter’s Singers. The newly composed “Ladue Responses,” which have their premiere at this service, are by the current Director of Music, David Sinden (b. 1982).
From our founding as a parish church in the Episcopal tradition, we give thanks for a musical heritage. We also celebrate that through repeated patterns of prayer and praise new music has sprung up specifically in this place.
At every service in this church, and especially at Evensong, we hope that music enables prayer and the corporate worship of God. Be it music from the mostly English sound world of our founding, or music which is distinctly American, and found only here in this church – all of it is offered to the glory of God.
The clergy and the choir hope that you will attend Evensong on Sunday, March 10 as part of “a right beginning of repentance” in the season of Lent, and also a solemn celebration of the music of this church.