Double Choir, Double Pleasure

Our focus for the day was going to Evensong at St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue. However, in the morning we enjoyed going to the church we belonged to for 50 years.  We sang the anthem with the choir and went down to sit in the congregation for the rest of the service.

Friend Ruth left church with us, and we drove to Manhattan from Long Island. As John wove through city streets, he directed daughter Kate uptown via phone as she came from New Jersey. How he could do that is totally beyond me. We pulled into the parking garage closest to St. Thomas, and Kate was right behind us. We hurried to the church, knowing there would be a crowd. The boys and choral scholars of Kings College Cambridge were singing evensong with the St. Thomas choir of men and boys. It was going to be a fantastic worship treat.

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Ruth, Kate, John, and David inside St. Thomas church

The choirs rehearsed an hour before the service began. In the photo below, Daniel Hyde was directing the double choir. He stood out wherever he was, because he is 6’10” tall. Mr. Hyde is the current director of the St. Thomas choir.

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We were interested in seeing Stephen Cleobury, who has directed the English choir since 1982. He is retiring, and Daniel Hyde will be taking his place. I zoomed in on the man as he sat listening to the choirs. Both of the men are world-class musicians, at the highest peak of liturgical church music.

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If you’d like to hear this service, go to Click on “Calendar”, click March 31, 2019 and scroll down to Festal Evensong. I know you won’t be able to pick out our voices, but we four were singing all the congregational hymns. The bishop who was preaching lost the screen that had his sermon. He controlled his panic and soon has the words in front of him again. David and I listened to the broadcast and found they edited out this painful interlude.

We went to a classic New York diner in Queens for a light meal. John chose it because it was near the best road for Kate to use to go home. After eating, he talked her through the route as he drove in the opposite direction.

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John, Kate, David, and Ruth in the diner