The choir members and most of their “groupies” (spouses, family, and friends who are traveling to London with us) travel overnight Friday, and we’ll land in London bright and early the next morning. Saturday, August 5, will be one of our two “days of rest and relaxation,” so we’ll take it easy that day, adjust our bodies to the UK time zone, and prepare for all that we’ll do over the following eight days.
St. Paul’s is a “tourist cathedral,” so it’s busy every day with people visiting it for its beauty and splendor. Many also want to worship in this amazing space, so the cathedral provides various services of worship each day. On Sundays, just like at any other church, God’s faithful gather for Eucharist. Many of these services involve music of some form. All this activity means that they plan everything very carefully and work diligently to carry out those plans.
Since singing and leading worship in St. Paul’s will be so different from our regular music leadership at St. Peter’s, we’ll go there on Sunday and observe the choir who are in-residence before us, the Choir of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (Portland, Oregon), as they rehearse and sing at both the principal Sunday Eucharist Service and Sunday afternoon’s Evensong. After Evensong, we’ll head off to dinner at the Café in the Crypt of St. Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square.
Our “work week” begins in earnest on Monday, August 7, with a guided tour of the cathedral. Each day (except Thursday and Sunday) we’ll start our preparation and rehearsal at 2:00 PM. Evensong starts each evening at 5:00 PM and lasts for about an hour. Our other “day off” will be Thursday (no rehearsals or Evensong for us that day!).
Our busiest day will be Sunday, August 13. We’ll gather at the cathedral at 8:30 AM for rehearsal, then we’ll sing at the 11:30 AM Eucharist Service. After a quick lunch break, we’ll return to the cathedral to rehearse, then sing Evensong at 3:15 PM.
When we sing Evensong at 5:00 PM on the weekdays and Saturday, it will be exactly Noon in Philadelphia. St. Paul’s Cathedral doesn’t live-stream their worship services, but we invite you to consider joining us in prayer at the same time. The Book of Common Prayer offers an Order of Service for Noonday. It’s not exactly Evensong, but we’ll provide you each day’s Psalm(s) and music information here on the blog.
While we travel, we ask that you join us in this prayer (adapted by Claire from a prayer found on a Slow Travel blog):
Gracious and loving God: Our souls are filled with the power and joy of your song of Creation.Our hearts dance to the beat of your rhythm as we raise our voices in response to your call.
Wrapped in the arms of your sustaining and eternal Love, we offer our gift of music. We pray that all who listen will hear with understanding, and open themselves to feel your presence through the joy in our voices and the passion in our hearts. We pray that all who listen will feel their spirits touched by the wonder of your mystery, and add their own voices to our joyful noise.
As we take this journey together, may we journey in faith and love, rejoicing and eager to serve you, the One who is both Singer and Song. Amen