For the first time in the history of Belfast, Choral Evensong or Sung Compline will be sung in the city every night with the exception of Saturday.
St Anne’s Cathedral’s weekly Choral Services recommenced after the summer break on September 8 with Sung Compline at 5.30pm on Monday and Choral Evensong at the same time on Wednesday.
On September 18, Thursday Choral Evensong will be introduced, continuing every Thursday thereafter. On Friday September 19, which happens to be Culture Night, the 5.30pm service will also be sung, again continuing on Fridays throughout the school term. And after Christmas St Anne’s will offer a Sung Compline on a Tuesday as well.
The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, said: “This is the first time ever, as far as I am aware, that any church in Belfast has had a Choral Evening Service every day with the exception of Saturday, which I don’t think we will be able to manage. All of the Cathedral choirs will be taking part with different sections singing on different nights. The clergy will have more singing to do too!”
David Stephens, Master of the Choristers at St Anne’s, said: “The tradition of daily sung services is an ancient tradition that is best preserved in UK cathedrals, and draws tourists from all over the world to hear beautiful music sung as part of moving liturgy in stunning buildings.
“St Anne’s is aiming, for the first time, to have sung services on most days of the week to preserve this ancient tradition and to help the people of Belfast and visitors to the city experience something inspiring during their visit. I’m glad that over the next few months we’ll add more sung services to our weekly schedule, and look forward to the building coming alive at the end of each working day.’”
Services on Monday evenings will always be Sung Compline, which is the last Monastic Office of the day, and will last around 15 minutes. Every other evening the service will be Choral Evensong and will last a little over half an hour and generally include an anthem.
All sung weekday services begin in St Anne’s at 5.30pm and everyone is very welcome to join in and listen to the music, prayers, hymns and chants in the beautiful setting of Belfast Cathedral.