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Compline on zoom Oct. 2020

October 29, 2020

Compline is the last of the four services in the Daily Office (BCP, p. 127). It is descended from the night prayers said before bed at the end of the monastic round of daily prayer. It ends with the Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon).

I first chanted Compline during my many years at the RSCM Kings College Course. We would chant an old-fashioned Sarum version of what you will experience Thursday. We sang in the gorgeous acoustic of the apse at St. Stephen’s church, Wilkesbarre PA. Some of my happiest memories of intimate music making are from that service.

Eventually, I brought this tradition to my adult choir as a Lenten discipline. We would leave the choir room for the choir stalls in the chancel, grab candles and chant from 8:45 to 9. A few people would come, but really it was for us.  It really does not take very long, but is beautiful and calming. We would end with an easy motet such as “Remember O Thou Man” (Ravenscroft), “Drop Slow Tears” (Gibbons), or “When Jesus Wept” (Billings). Chanted Compline is the last thing we sang together on March 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm.

This summer the RSCM Kings College Course had virtual choir camp. The chanted Compline service was amazingly healing for all of us. You can actually see it here.

It is impossible to sing on zoom more than one at a time unless it is family pod members in one screen. But since Compline is simply chanted a cappella it lends itself well to sharing, and we take turns unmuting. Our motet will be a virtual choir of 4 members of the Roper family singing Parry’s “Crossing the Bar,” a favorite of ours for All Saints’ season.

Our “Compline for Kids” also works that way, since the kids always take turns having “jobs” like cantor, reader, play the offertory, lead “Keep Me” with sign language. Families can join us the first Wed. of the month for that one.

So pull up a screen, dim the lights, light a candle, or put on a virtual candlelight background and join us for Compline!

It is actually less than 30 minutes, but we will hang around and visit

You can find the church zoom room by clicking on the icon for the servcie at https://www.gracemadison.org/ . The Compline booklet link is below the picture.

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