Abbey hosts annual St Cecilia service

Wednesday, 20th November 2019

Abbey hosts annual St Cecilia service

A service to Mark the Festival of St Cecilia was held at Westminster Abbey in conjunction with Help Musicians UK on Wednesday 20th November 2019.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who said in his Bidding:

We gather, representing three of the great churches of our Cities of London and Westminster, and many of the City of London’s livery companies, in this holy place as it celebrates the 750th year of its rebuilding. Through the centuries these stones have resounded with music offered to the glory of God through the zeal and inspiration of countless musicians. We gather to celebrate their gifts and the joy of music.
We also celebrate the patron saint of music, Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, and remember with thanksgiving the great musicians of this Festival’s history. We pray for all musicians today, for all who support them privately and professionally, and especially for the work of Help Musicians.
In the words of the psalmist;
O sing unto the Lord a new song: let the congregation of saints praise him.

The service was sung by the combined choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey. The organ was played during the service by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist, Westminster Abbey. Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist, Westminster Abbey, played before the service and William Fox, Sub Organist, St Paul’s Cathedral afterwards.

The choirs sang Angel voices ever singing, an anthem composed by Bob Chilcott for this service.

Jennifer Pike, violinist, played Preludio from Partita No 3 in E bwv 1007 by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Nicky Spence read Psalm 150 and Graham Sheffield CBE read St Luke 19: 29-40. Amanda Lee read a Testimony.

The Address was given the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dame Sarah Mullaly DBE, Bishop of London.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Sacrist of Westminster, and said by: the Reverend Rosemary Morton, Minor Canon and Succentor, St Paul’s Cathedral; Father Daniel Humphreys, Sub-Administrator, Westminster Cathedral; the Reverend Ronald Corp OBE, Chair, Festival of St Cecilia; and the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence, Westminster Abbey.

Members of the livery companies of the City of London processed through the Abbey church before the service.