Evensong. Back and on the radio

Portsmouth Cathedral Choir will be the first cathedral to perform choral evensong live on BBC Radio 3 since lockdown last March.

You can hear them this Wednesday (23 September) broadcast live at 3.30pm. This will be the first BBC Radio 3 broadcast from a cathedral choir and from outside London since March 2020.

Choral worship is returning to our cathedrals … and we’re live on BBC R3!

The performance will be followed by Guildford Cathedral Choir which has just announced Choral Evensong will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 NEXT Wednesday (30 September).

The recent easing of national guidance on singing informed by new research into the transmission risk has seen a number of our cathedrals begin to bring back choral worship slowly and safely.

Portsmouth has just returned to full choral worship following six months in lockdown with weekday Choral Evensong on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as well as sung services on Sunday. These are also available online.

The Dean of Portsmouth, The Very Revd Anthony Cane said:

“I am delighted to be welcoming back our wonderful choirs. Choral music is a key part of Cathedral life and worship, helping us into a deeper experience of the beauty and peace of God.”

Guildford’s Cathedral Choir sang together for the first time in public on Sunday – heralding a return to choral worship for them too.

Choral Evensong will take place usually on Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays with sung services on Sunday too.

Like all our cathedrals, Guildford went online during lockdown with both the boy and girl choristers having rehearsals remotely until the end of the choir term.

They recorded music and hymns so that services could be produced and broadcast on Guildford’s YouTube channel so that although they were not able to be together in the Cathedral, they were able to come together as a congregation and include people from around the globe. During the summer months when the choir was on holiday Guildford Cathedral’s Sunday services were pre-recorded with music contributions from twelve visiting choirs from the UK, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford, Katherine Dienes-Williams said

“The look of pure delight on all our singers’ faces has been something to behold – the excitement is palpable.

“I am so delighted we have been able to provide a safe environment in which choral worship can resume and although we are apart as singers, appropriately socially distanced, we are together as a team once more and can continue our offering of song, bringing joy to so many people.

“And what a way to start… broadcasting Choral Evensong live on BBC Radio 3 at 3.30pm on Wednesday 30 September so do tune in!”

Please check ahead as opening times and service times may have changed at our cathedrals as they all re-adjust to a new normal – you may have to book a ticketed slot at some cathedrals.

Every Church of England Cathedral which is able to re-open to the public has achieved the Visit Britain’s industry standard and consumer charter mark We’re Good to Go which means visitors can be confident that cathedrals are taking all the necessary steps to help ensure people’s safety in line with latest Government and Public Health guidance. Please be advised face-coverings are now mandatory in places of worship unless you are exempt and you will also be asked to take part in the nation’s Track and Trace system.

Find out more about Choral Evensong here.