Ely Cathedral – Choral Evensong – 7th August 2011

After one final lunch on the Cathedral Green we robed up and filed into the stalls for our last practice, during which I spent most of my time hanging precariously on one foot on the edge of the stalls, trying not to fall off backwards. This was not helped by the fact I had to hold my choir folder slightly behind me, and every time I looked at my music my balance was compromised. A good reason to rely on my memory for as much of the music as possible, something that was reasonably easy to achieve, as all the music was very familiar, even the office hymn, which we sing regularly in Amsterdam. Of course, in Amsterdam we sing it without an extraneous Ab, and with an occasionally different text, but switching between choirs as often as I do, such surprises are beginning to be expected.

I had the feeling in the last 3 services that we were finally reaching the light floaty singing in the office hymns that Martin was requesting, but it may only have been a reflection of my new position at the end of the row which meant that I simply couldn’t hear the other singers.

Unlike many Cathedrals, Sunday Evensong appeared little different than that on any other day of the week, with no sermon, and no opening sentences. The lack of the latter made me a little sad, as I’m rather fond of erring and straying from my ways like a lost sheep, and following too much the devices and desires of my own heart. I will never cease to find pleasure in the texts of the 1662 liturgy.

In the blink of an eye, Evensong was over and we were processing out of the Choir and lining up for the dismissal for the final time. We didn’t fling off our robes straight away though – tradition dictates the necessity of a choir photo, accompanied by the requisite fumbling around with tripod and self timer in my case, and a string full of cameras around the neck in Brenda’s.

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