vasari singers cathedrals evensong mission

Vasari Singers as guest choir - photo by Catherine Ovenden

The tradition of singing choral evensong in Anglican churches stretches back over many hundreds of years. It is especially well-recognised in the great British Cathedrals, college chapels and Royal Peculiars, where professional singers have lead services, and of course not to mention also the many hundreds of excellent parish churches across the UK. This tradition of choral evensong using the 1662 book of common prayer runs in an unbroken tradition stretching back 400 years, and is still a daily activity across the country.

The repertoire undertaken in our evensong and Eucharist services reflect the choir’s main musical drivers of versatility and passion, with a vast range of repertoire ranging from Tudor to the Contemporary. Indeed, the choir often Premieres music in service settings and has even commissioned and premiered two sets of Preces & Responses for evensong, which the choir uses regularly. However, there is always a respectful understanding of the spiritual meaning of the service. Psalm singing, a central feature of the evensong service, is a particular skill and one which the choir takes great pride in.

Many of the singers in Vasari have had experience of choral evensong through singing in other church choirs, and indeed, the choir’s director, Jeremy Backhouse was himself head chorister at Canterbury Cathedral. ┬áTherefore, choral evensong is a tradition that the choir is passionate about supporting, and for that reason, in the 30+ years of the choir’s existence, undertaking visiting choir duties to sing choral evensong remains a core part of the Vasari Singers programme.

The choir has a long-term mission to visit every Cathedral in the UK and sing choral evensong, and also where possible, sung Eucharist -which brings another level of musical involvement!

Every summer, Vasari Singers has a permanent residency at Canterbury Cathedral, on the invitation of the Dean and Chapter. In addition, each Easter, the choir undertakes a short tour away from London to one of the UK’s many Cathedrals. Below is detailed all of the Abbeys, Cathedrals, Chapels and Royal Peculiars that the choir has so far visited and sung services in as visiting choir.

  • Bath Abbey
  • Canterbury
  • Chester
  • Chichester
  • Durham
  • Ely
  • Gloucester
  • Hereford
  • Liverpool
  • Liverpool Metropolitan
  • Peterborough
  • Ripon
  • St Alban’s
  • St Paul’s
  • Salisbury
  • Sheffield
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Winchester
  • York Minster

In 2014 the choir will visit Lincoln Cathedral.


like to audition?

The choir is always looking for new voices to add to our membership for both regular and occasional commitments - if you're a confident singer, and you would like to sing with the Vasari Singers, click the link below to apply. Auditions are held regularly for all voice parts.

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