Three years ago, the musicians of St. Stephen’s, St. Paul’s and St. James’s reinstituted a Richmond choral tradition of musical collaboration between the three parishes. This year’s event takes place on March 15 at St. Paul’s with a 5:00 p.m. service of Evensong. The Three Choirs Festival, from which our Evensong takes its name, is one of the world’s oldest choral music festivals, held in England at the end of July. The festival location rotates between Hereford Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral and Worcester Cathedrals. St. James’s choir was in residence at Gloucester Cathedral in 2003 and will be choir-in-residence at Worcester Cathedral in 2016. The Three Choirs Evensong features music by composers whose works have been performed at the Three Choirs Festival: Thomas Tomkins, Herbert Howells and Gerald Finzi.
The 100 voices of the Richmond Three Choirs Festival join together in a service of Choral Evensong on the Fourth Sunday in Lent (“Laetare”), March 15 at 5:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s.
Evensong is the traditional sung service of Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. The service is drawn almost entirely from the Bible and has been sung in the Anglican Church since the sixteenth century. Its purpose is to give thanks in song and sight to God the Giver of all beauty.
The canticles are the St. Paul’s Service by beloved English composer Herbert Howells (1892-1983); the anthem is “Lo, the full, final sacrifice” by Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)
The service is sung by the choirs of St. James’s, St. Stephen’s, and St. Paul’s Episcopal churches, including the Virginia Girls’ Choir and the St. Paul’s Choristers. The organist is Mr. Brandon Dumas (St. Stephen’s). With a choir of more than 100 of our city’s best voices, this will be a beautiful service. We hope you will plan to attend.