Once in a lifetime

March 8th, 2017

In August 2016, my belovèd choir sang for an entire week as choir in residence at Westminster Abbey.

Yes, THAT Westminster Abbey.

No coronations or royal weddings were happening at the time—not that any self-respecting English choir would allow a gaggle of Yankee upstarts to usurp its position if such an event had occurred—so we just sang regular services. (“Just.”) We rehearsed for several hours every morning and afternoon, then sang Evensong daily; we sang three services, including an Evensong, on Sunday.

It was magical. Maybe in a later post I’ll wax even more rhapsodic about the experience—walking through doors marked “Private,” rehearsing in a tiny library with books hundreds of years old and a secret door out onto the roof, frustrating B. the Fastidious Verger with our disappointingly undulant lines and inability to bow in the correct direction during the first service, singing warm-ups below an at least 10-foot-tall painting of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During our last service, the Sunday Evensong, one woman’s very visible joy in our singing moved me to cry my guts out (v. inconvenient as we were only halfway through the service and I had only one sad tissue [things got messy]).

However, since I’m super sleepy tonight, I’m just going to upload some nice pictures for you to enjoy. The Quire (where the choir stalls are) is absolutely gorgeous and we weren’t supposed to take pictures there, so I didn’t… during services, anyway.

Side view of the Abbey.

Look who’s on the schedule! I have one of these framed in my room.

Cheney Gates, where we rehearsed every day.

Lining up for afternoon rehearsal in the Quire.

The decani side, taken (obviously) from the cantoris side.

A few lucky people get to sit next to the choir during services.

Here we go! Hands clasped at sternums and keep those lines straight!


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