St. Mary’s Choir presents evensong Sept. 23

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Article Published: Sep. 13, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 13, 2012
St. Mary’s Choir presents evensong Sept. 23

St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church in the winter.

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The choir of St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church in Blowing Rock will present choral evensong at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, in the nave of the church.

Featured music will include the “magnificat” and “nunc dimittis” from Howell’s “Gloucester Service,” a 20th century setting of Mary’s response to the angel at the annunciation and of the traditional evening prayer (“Lord, now let your servant depart in peace”).

The anthem will be Richard Dering’s “ Factum est silentium,” about an epic battle between the Archangel Michael and a dragon.

The choir of St. Mary’s sings Evensong one Sunday every month from March through October, and everyone is welcome. Donations support the Choral Scholarship program at St. Mary of the Hills, which provides financial support to students and budding young singers in exchange for vocal contributions to the choir.

The service of evensong or evening prayer combines elements of two services, vespers and compline, which were part of the seven-service daily cycle of prayer in monasteries. It is said or sung every day in the cathedrals and collegiate churches of England, as well as in this country since 1785.

The form of the service has changed little since the 16th century, but the content dates back much earlier — to the Psalms, the hymnbook of the Jewish temple, and the canticles (“magnificat” and “nunc dimittis”), which are taken from the New Testament.

For more information on this service, contact St. Mary of the Hills at (828) 295-7323.

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