Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Office

Nothing to do with Ricky Gervais, or where many of of work every week, this is the Divine Office, usually thought to be the prerogative of monastic communities.

Well it ain't so.

Anyone can sing or read the Office, either in their own communities, or individually. The Schola Cantorum have been singing regularly now in the Church of St Mary, Bishophill Junior in York, after being invited to do so by Andrew Stoker, who is the Priest-in-charge there.

St Mary's is of one of Yorks historic churches, in fact, the oldest church foundation in the city. This church is in use only early on Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings for services, Monday evenings for a choir practice [not connected to the church] and the local Greek Orthodox Community use it every first Saturday in the month. The regular congregation is very small, and Andrew, the vicar, is quite keen that the church to be used more often and to be seen to be used.

How we came to take up part-residency there is as a result of a conversation over a drink or three at one of York's fine Real Ale Establishments. :-) We've known each other for many years, long before he and his family came to York, so it's not uncommon for us to share the occasional drink together. When I half-jokingly suggested that we sing the Traditional Catholic Divine Office there, the offer was taken up there and then! I've been given my own key to the place such was his enthusiasm for more use being made of the building.

The Schola Cantorum began by singing Compline at the beginning of last year. We currently sing most Fridays at 8pm, though this can and does change - best to check our Calendar regularly!

We also sing Vespers too, mainly of the BVM, though we have actually sung for other Feast Days. I'd like to get us to sing Sunday Vespers at some stage too, but right now we're busy enough!

We'll be there this Friday @ 8pm, so if you're in the area and want to come to a traditional chanted Compline, come along, and say hello afterwards!

No comments: