These past days I’ve been wandering the streets of Oxford, getting lost, and imagining future lives.
Yesterday, just before 6, I stumbled by Christ Church – perhaps most famous for standing in as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts – and noticed evensong would start in minutes. Pourquois pas?
I talked my way past the porter (I really miss having a university id card) and loped through Tom Quad. I walked straight through the quire and was escorted to the last seat in the last row of the southern transept, sitting down just before the choir processed in.
I learned representatives of the Royal School of Church Music were in attendance, having spent the day studying that evening’s hymns making the normally robust English congregational singing especially so, and that this was the feast of St. Michael and all angels. (For some reason, I never realized that Michaelmas term which starts this week is named for this feast.) We sang of Michael the warrior, and Gabriel the messenger, and Raphael the healer.
For the anthem on this out of term Saturday evening: Sir Hubert Parry’s rafter rattling “I was glad,” written for the coronation of King Edward VII and sung at every coronation and major spectacle since.
I thought it a fitting inaugural Oxonian Saturday evening.