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Evensong, Cathedrals and Churches in England

Evensong, Cathedrals and Churches in England

Jun 5th, 2006, 04:34 PM
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Evensong, Cathedrals and Churches in England

Is Evensong sung only at cathedrals or at regular churches as well?

I'm looking for a smaller-type place to stay for a couple of months. I am hoping for somewhere with good public transportation as I will not be renting a car and want to be able to travel about, close to the ocean, where I can attend Evensong, enjoy scenery and pubs and just wander about a bit and, hopefully, get a little writing done.

Thanks for all your help.
GJLinda is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 05:23 PM
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We went to Evensong at Kings College Chapel in Cambridge last summer. It was amazing. I believe the boys choir there is well known worldwide.

Cambridge is not close to the ocean, but otherwise fits the bill for everything else you seek. I find the scholarly environment particularly inspiring when I am there. The Orchard nearby is known for producing famous writings and writers. I am sure you have heard of it.

Good luck.
StephCar is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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Canterbury or Rye?
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 06:48 PM
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If you think about, a church music program that would allow daily evensong services is a pretty expensive proposition -- a choir school or strong music program in a church related school, full time music director, assistant directors, organists. Few parish churches have such resources, which is why you find, with few exceptions, choral evensongs are limited to cathedrals, and educational institutions, as noted above. One exception is St Mary's, Warwick, which has evensong three days a week. Another is Beverley Minster, which has evensong up to twice a week. There me be few others, but not many.

For regular choral evensong near the sea, you might look at Chichester or St David's, in Wales. Although the latter would not qualify as a place with good transportation links.
ron is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 12:59 AM
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We make a distinction in English that isn't made in American. "Sea" is what practically all England's coastline is on: only Cornwall has a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The distinction's not just semantic: our coasts typically have much more sedate seascapes (though not necessarily sedate weather) than coats directly exposed to an ocean. If this is important to you, Truro's the only place thar fits your bill.

Otherwise, you might, just, add Rochester to the towns ron mentions. Well-connected, but too close to a lot of rather unlovely stuff for many people's liking.

If evensong isn't 100% essential, but a major medieval church in a quiet, well-preserved town with a good choir is, there's a terrific resource at www.cathedralmusiclinks.org.uk. Its list of "collegiate" churches is a great checklist for England's second-division: towns like Warwick, Beverley, Tewkesbury and the like with stunning civic churches, an outstanding choral tradition and a general feeling of continuity.

Some of the coastal or near-coastal towns on this list - like Devon's Ottery St Mary, or Norfolk's Attleborough - meet your criteria in practically every way, except possibly the quality and output of the church choir. There are links elsewhere on that site to help you check the choirs. Devon's coastline and seascapes mostly pass for ocean, BTW. Norfolk's most certainly don't, though they have great charm and terrific ornithological interest.

One complete flyer.

Durham. Although it's 20 miles from the sea, there's good public transport to the coast, which is rarely visited and absolutely sensational. And Durham's public transport, both local and its connections to Britain and Europe, are excellent.
CotswoldScouser is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 02:12 AM
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York is a beautiful city, compact and easy to get around. York Minster is fabulous, and Evensong is sung there most evenings. Itís not near to the sea but there are excellent train services from York itself. You can easily reach Durham (already mentioned), and if you fancy travelling further afield there is an excellent GNER service to Edinburgh and to London.
York Minster has itís own website Ė www.yorkminster.org

Morgana is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Here's another vote for York. It's more than ten years since we were there, and it's still a wonderful memory. The best choral music in a splendid space.

Haven't been to Winchester or Wells, but I hear they are both very good also. So many possibilities!
SB_Travlr is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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Evensong at Canterbury is beautiful. We were lucky enough to have been there--entirely by accident--for the evensong commemerating the 800th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, and I'll never forget it.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 02:47 PM
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Cornwall would fill the bill, and there is sung evensong by the cathedral choir at leat once a week in Truo cathedral. We have good trains, buses, boats, and and a couple of months you could see a lot. Good luck!
annhig is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions. Evensong is not absolutely necessary--just some enjoyable choral music in a lovely church.

Thanks to CotswoldScouser for the music link.

GJLinda is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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If you decide on a university town such as Cambridge, you may find that sung Evensong in the colleges takes place only during the (relatively short) university terms. Also, cathedral choirs may have more limited services during the school holidays (the choristers are allowed holidays these days ). So check the websites before you make your final decision. Sounds a great plan!
Ruth is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:08 PM
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Anoher website to check is:


We have attended Evensong in Norwich - magnificent and it wasn't the Cathedral Choir. It was a Saturday so one of the Diocesan choirs. Check the website for more info. BTW it is less than 20 miles from the coast at Great Yarmouth.

Not too far away are Bury St. Edmunds and Ely Cathedrals and, of course, Cambridge. Lucked into a mad organist who was practicing after the Sunday morning service at St. Edmunds. Wow.

Winchester has a wonderful choir that we heard at an ordination service. It is one of my favorite small cities.

Another you might check is Exeter. Again, not too far from the coast tho not the best choice for transport.

Exeter, Norwich and Durham are university towns so are very active during the school year.
jsmith is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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Lovely evensong, pubs, and wandering in Salisbury. Transport to some places easy, but it's not on the coast (not far to Southampton, though). Worth checking out. Let me know via this thread if you end up considering it seriously, and I can make some more detailed recommendations.
scottvan is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 10:32 PM
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If Evensong's not 100% necessary, choose somewhere near the sea a tad smaller than these cathedral cities, but with a decent medieval church.

Then, after a hard day's novel writing, download the Evensong of your choice from the BBC Radio 3 archive, and take your iPod along to that church just before it closes for the night, or after your morning jog.

Nothing sets you up better for the next shift of knocking that prose into something someone might consider publishing.

CotswoldScouser is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 11:14 PM
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..In the summer, many of the "usual choirs" are on vacation (as of mid July) and "visiting" choirs will often sing for a week. In the "bigger" venues they have been carefully vetted but some are better than others...remember too tha UK "choir boys" who sing for a cathedral usually go to a school which is near the cathedral and their fees are paid. They often start in a training choir at 7 and probably are singing with the choir at 8 and will sing until their voice changes. Non UK choirboys although paid in many cases, don't go to a cathedral school so rather than singing 6 evensongs and 2 serves Sunday am and probably almost daily practice as well as music courses at school will likely have 2- 3 regular practices and probably one service on Sunday so the average treble just isn't as good...still well worth going even with a visiting choir.
travelbunny is offline  

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