Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Congrats, York. You Got Me to Go to Church.


Getting a lapsed Catholic to voluntarily go to church is quite a feat.  So I would like to commend the city of York on getting not one but two twenty-somethings who grew up going to Mass every week but now can’t be bothered, ever, to voluntarily attend a religious service.

The things you do for travel!

Dave and I got a great tip from our B&B owner: visiting the York Minster is prohibitively expensive, but you get in for free if you go to a service.  And on Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, there is an Evensong service at 5:15 PM.  This service features an outstanding repertoire from the choir.

From the moment we walked in, I was spellbound.  The York Minster is the largest cathedral in northern Europe, but knowing that doesn’t even prepare you for what awaits you inside.

But as beautiful as the Minster was, it was nothing compared to the singing.

The Evensong service is a brief service featuring a choir of men and boys.  Visiting choirs visit on occasion.  We were ushered into a pew and then experienced one of the best choirs I have ever heard in my life.

I wasn’t able to get a video, but I found this one on YouTube.  Take a listen and hear how beautifully this choir sang.

How amazing is that?

I spent my university years singing with the Fairfield University Glee Club (which, for the record, is NOTHING like the TV show Glee).  Our focus was sacred music, in every language from Russian to Yoruba, but most often in Latin.  For four years, I spent much of my free time on stage with my nose in a score.

So to hear sacred music in a cathedral like this, with incredible acoustics to boot, felt like coming full circle.  It took my breath away.

If you find yourself in York, make time for the Evensong service.  This is something that you shouldn’t miss.

Despite my glowing reviews, does York not tickle your fancy? Check out some Nile Cruises for something completely different.


17 Responses to “Congrats, York. You Got Me to Go to Church.”
  1. Alouise says:

    Wow that was incredible. ‘i have to admit while I don’t have much interest in going to church myself, I always love visiting churches and cathedrals when I travel.

  2. How beautiful it must have been!
    I was particularly amazed at the dark tainted glass in the back of the Minster. It brings something a little different to the already amazing architecture. I loved the museum in the basement that shows the Roman foundations – amazing how high it is now, as opposed to then!

  3. Kris Koeller says:

    I had a similar experience at Notre Dame in Montreal. Neither me nor the church burst into flames upon my entrance.

  4. I too don’t miss the chance to visit churches or cathedrals when traveling. They usually are designed with such great architecture and York looks to be the same!

  5. Sid Vic says:

    How incredible to hear (even on youtube!) i can’t even imagine how beautiful it would be to listen to it in a cathedral. The few times that I have traveled (notably in the Philippines, Colombia, Mexico), the towns saved the grandeur for the churches so it was always a must see.

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Wow the sound in there is INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Amanda says:

    It looks soooooo beautiful! I think York Minster could convince THIS lapsed Catholic to go to church, too. And even enjoy it.

  8. I find this incredibly ironic because in Europe, churches are historical sites for most people. Sure, some people do go to church there but it’s quite the opposite here in the states. No one visits churches but actually attends. I don’t see Europe as very religious at all (although I HATE the word ‘religious’).

  9. As I mentioned I used to be in the chapel choir and one of the places where I’d performed an evensong was York Minster. Bringing back the memories!

  10. Julianne says:

    There’s plenty of great choral music right here at home in Boston if you know where to find it. Try a Sunday service at the Church of the Advent in Beacon Hill sometime. As a lapsed Catholic, it will look, smell, and sound very familiar, but without all the stupid rules.

  11. Ok so Kate may question to you now is that after seemingly enjoying the service, the sights and the choir will you be stopping in on Mass again? Lovely post beautiful cathedral!

  12. Andy says:

    Yeah, but let’s see if we can get you to go to a Catholic church! 😉

  13. Phillip says:

    Quick question! Did you look around the church BEFORE the evensong service or AFTER? Just trying to coordinate my trip there..


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