By The Rev. Alexander R. Pryor, Teaching Fellow in Church Music & Associate Director of Chapel Music, Nashotah House Theological Seminary
Some of the choral scholars wanted the recordings from a recent Evensong at Grace Church in Sheboygan to share with friends back home. I thought I would share them with all of you, since we were representing you all in singing there this past weekend, October 10-12, 2014. As the web site of Grace Church notes, “Nashotah House and Grace have had a close relationship since the founding of this parish. Nashotah House is an Anglican and Episcopalian seminary in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Grace provides annual support to the seminary (located near Delafield, WI) and receives a seminarian for parish training each year.”
To which we convey our gratitude. Be warned – the Rachmaninoff started a little rough, but the tenors recovered fairly quickly. Kucharski’s Dallas Service Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis: https://www.dropbox.com/sc/nl7mj01yup6ynht/AAA6DEU03SBuJSikyakeafpUa Psalm 45 (Coverdale) set to Anglican Chant: https://www.dropbox.com/sc/tf0r1uos77iju0h/AABBDNH_f1RXzUEykOCJe2vja Rachmaninoff’s Ave Maria (Bogoroditse Devo): https://www.dropbox.com/sc/eniu2btt8q2smfn/AABUyyDKwh2IQaHIBim7Hyvba
Every year for as long as anyone can remember, the Choral Scholars of Nashotah House are invited to sing Evensong at Grace Episcopal Church in Sheboygan, WI for their annual Walsingham Festival. This is always a highlight in the semester for the choral scholars, as it is one of several times each year that they head out to represent Nashotah House in the wider church. Unlike the usual congregational style evensong that is usually sung in St. Mary’s Chapel, this is a Choral Evensong, meaning that the choir sings the psalm and canticles on behalf of the congregation, while they actively participate by lifting their hearts in prayer toward God. The canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis) sung this year were composed by Nashotah House’s own Canon Joseph Kucharski and are written in a modern version of the “faburden” style popular in 15-century England.
The plainsong verses of the canticles are alternated with harmonized, stylized versions of chant sung in four-part harmony. The Psalm was sung to an Anglican Chant written by Charles Hylton-Stewart and accompanied by the organist at Grace Episcopal Church, Dr. R. Benjamin Dobey. The singing of an Anthem has long been a feature of Choral Evensong, and this year our Choral Scholars sang an English version of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo (Ave Maria) from his setting of the Russian Orthodox All Night Vigil, composed in 1915.