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Friday, September 9, 2011

No Ordinary Evensong

A cold and wet Spring evening, and we have, at least for tonight, resumed the mid-week Choral Evensong as the girls of the choir from Christchurch Cathedral Grammar School are in Dunedin on a visit to St Hilda's and have joined our choir for Evensong. The combined choir must number perhaps as many as sixty and the procession as we enter stretches the length of the nave - it is quite a sight. Peter Ellis is on the bench and there is no doubt that he knows this organ and how to play for this space and this choir. Michael (as usual) conducts this greatly enlarged group so well - a joy to watch!

The Cathedral Grammar is billeted out with St Hilda's families and many of them have come to the service, a detail that speaks eloquently of the commitment and hospitality that St Hilda's does so well.

We have not printed off anywhere near enough service sheets but the congregation have managed and though the service would have been unfamiliar to many of them, they have followed it rather well.

It may be that Choral Evensong is something followed rather than participated in, except that the participation is more that of the spirit than the voice. The service provides an ample space for reflection and the enjoyment of beautiful music and fine words resonating in this beautiful building. Here heart and mind can soar and amidst the beauty the presence of God can draw closer to us - or at least open us to an awareness of that presence.

It has been a long time since Cathedral Grammar has been able to sing the Office in a Cathedral. We continue to keep Christchurch in our hearts and to pray. At least, this night, this is their Cathedral.



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