Choral Evensong at Rochester Cathedral

Members of Beckenham Youth Voices and a few of their parents sang at Rochester for this service as part of a larger group of singers under the name “Amici Cantantes” (“Singing Friends”).

Since 1999, John has put on a large-scale service at either Rochester or Southwark Cathedral every two years until 2019. This year’s effort was the first since Covid, so a three year gap this time.

We mustered over seventy singers at the ancient Cathedral in the Medway City of Rochester; the first Cathedral there dates from AD604, so the place has seen many thousands of events over the centuries.

Youth Voices’ member Rachael Leary was soloist in the anthem and enjoyed the top F#s! Thanks to Rachael’s Mum, Ali, for taking the photos.

We arrived at 1.00p.m. in the Crypt and rehearsed in the Chapel for an hour. Then we went upstairs to the choirstalls and practised with the organ, which has four manuals and pedals. The organist was Graham Powell, who has played for all these services and is based at St. Peter’s Church, Limpsfield, in Surrey.

The music list:

  • Responses: Thomas Tallis’ Festal setting
  • Hymns: “Be thou my vision” (tune: Slane)
  • Psalm: 29, to an anglican chant in A flat by Thomas Attwood
  • Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis: C V Stanford in B flat
  • Anthem: “Turn thy face from my sins,” by Thomas Attwood
  • Hymn: “Take up thy cross” (tune: Breslau)
  • Final organ music: “O Gott, du frommer Gott” (OP.122), by Johannes Brahms

Photos by Ali Holder.