A West Gallery Evensong
Sunday 21st May: 1800
Director of Music Stuart Robinson writes: The West Gallery tradition flourished during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and was a reaction against the comparative formality of choral services. It takes its name from the fact that singers and instrumentalists would occupy the west gallery in a church. There was such a gallery in St John’s until the 19th century! West Gallery Music is a style deeply rooted in the West country – in fact we will sing a setting of the Nunc Dimittis sourced from a manuscript in the Dorset County Museum.
Our first West Gallery Evensong was in September 2019. Because of work in the nave at the time we could only hold the service in the St Andrew’s Chapel at the eastern end of the church. This time we’ll be in the nave where there’s more space. Click here to watch ‘A Hardy Medley’ which closed our 2019 service; this was a collection of anonymous rustic ditties; Indian Queen, The Duke of Riff’s Reel (or Love in a village), Dribbles of brandy, Sir Roger de Coverley.
Click here to watch O for a thousand tongues to sing from our West Gallery Evensong in 2019.
To find out more about West Gallery Music click here to go to the website of the West Gallery Music Association.
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A Village Choir Thomas Webster 1847. [Victoria & Albert Museum]