*** DEBUG END ***

Evensong re-expressed

22 July 2016


“Lord have mercy upon us; Please notice who we really are”: children with learning difficulties worked with choristers at Salisbury Cathedral to produce their version of choral evensong

“Lord have mercy upon us; Please notice who we really are”: children with learning difficulties worked with choristers at Salisbury Cathed...

A NEW take on choral evensong took place last week at Salisbury Cathedral, when it played host to “Evening Songs”.

The service was a collaboration between Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral School, Exeter House School, and the music production company La Folia.

Co-ordinated by La Folia’s artistic director Howard Moody, along with the Salisbury Cathedral School Director of Music, Ian Wicks, the music was both devised and sung by Exeter House pupils and cathedral choristers. Their lyrics included: “O Lord open thou our lips; We shall if you sing our song,” and “Lord, have mercy upon us; Please notice who we really are”.

Discussing working with Exeter House, a local school for children with severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties, Marie Thomas, of Salisbury Cathedral, said: “This evensong — or ‘Evening Songs’, as they call it — isn’t some cosy, easy, give-them-a-chance project, but more of a storming of the citadel. . . The result is rambunctious and vivid.”

“The really exciting thing about this service,” the Canon Precentor and head of the cathedral’s department of music and liturgy, Tom Clammer, said, “is the way in which an ancient and prayer-soaked text has been explored and re-expressed by the young people of Exeter House. . .

“The reinterpretations of the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis are similarly both innocent and profound, and ask a number of questions about fairness, equality, and what it is that faith is supposed to excite in us.”

After the performance on Tuesday of last week, Salisbury Cathedral Choir posted on Twitter: “Thank you. It was the most amazing experience, & the children were just fabulous.” Many others used the hashtag #powerfulvoice.

The cathedral’s Director of Music, David Halls, believes that this could be one of the most important pieces of work the cathedral has created. The initiative has sparked interest among other cathedrals, and Salisbury are keen to roll out the project more widely in the future.

Train-a-Priest Fund 2021 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this Lent. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)