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St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church Presents the First Evensong Service of the Year this Sunday, May 25

Courtesy of St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church
Courtesy of St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church

By Travis Miller

May 21, 2014. The choir of St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church in Blowing Rock will present the first choral evensong of the season this Sunday afternoon, May 25, at 3:30 p.m. in the newly refurbished nave of the church.

The renowned choir of St. Mary’s, lead by James Bumgardner, has performed all around the country, from New York to Washington D.C., as well as in many cathedrals throughout England. Every year, from May to October, the choir sings evensong on the fourth Sunday of each month.

The evensong service is a traditional service that lasts for about 45 minutes and mainly features music with some prayer throughout. The service has changed little since the 16th century and is uniquely composed of music from an old Anglican tradition rather than from more modern hymns. Gretta Wilson of St. Mary’s describes the softer musical style as “very prayerful and contemplative.”

The first service this Sunday will include Orlando Gibbon’s Magnificat and Nunc dimittis and the Smith 4-part Preces and Responses.  The Introit will be Tallis’ If Ye Love Me, and the anthem will be Surrexit Pastor Bonus by Orlando di Lasso. Different music will be featured for each evensong service.

The dates for this evensong season are as follows:

  • May 25
  • June 22
  • July 27
  • Aug. 24
  • Sept. 28
  • Oct. 26

Donations during the service support the Choral Scholarship program at St. Mary of the Hills which provides financial support to students and budding young singers.

Also, the choir of St. Mary’s has released several CD recordings in recent years. Contact the Church Office to learn about purchasing these recordings. Proceeds go toward the church’s music program.

St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church was built in 1918 and has recieved many additions throughout the years. Most recently, the nave of the church was refurbished and a new organ is set to be installed in July. This season will be the first since the construction and the first to benefit from the new organ.

For more information on the service, please contact St. Mary of the Hills at 828-295-7323.