Singing returns to the Abbey

Monday, 17th August 2020

Singing returns to the Abbey

Choral services resumed at Westminster Abbey on Sunday (16th August 2020) for the first time in five months. When six members of the Abbey’s famous choir sang at the 11.15am Eucharist it signified the first sung service in the Abbey church since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed 21 weeks ago.

The full Abbey choir last sang at Evensong Tuesday 17th March. The lockdown which followed two days later meant that the Abbey closed its doors and choral services were suspended. Even when worship began at the Abbey a month ago, the choir could not take part until the government issued guidance on choral singing.

The five-month hiatus is the longest the Abbey choir has been silent since the Second World War.

On Sunday six Lay Vicars – professional men singers – sang in the Lantern at the east end of the Abbey while the congregation gathered in the Nave at the west end of the church.

The Lay Vicars were conducted by Matthew Jorysz (Assistant Organist) and comprised: Robin Blaze (countertenor): David Martin (countertenor); Julian Stocker (tenor); Simon Wall (tenor); Robert Macdonald (baritone); and Julian Empett (baritone). Alexander Hamilton (Organ Scholar) played the organ.

The Abbey plans to build up to a full choral schedule stage-by-stage over the coming weeks and months. For the moment, choral services have resumed on Sundays only during August. The choir will sing at Sung Eucharist at 11.15am and Evensong at 3.00pm.