Keeping the tradition alive
The purpose of the Washington National Cathedral choirs is to offer, at the highest standard possible, praises to God through leadership in music and liturgy.
The work of the choirs is inspired by the English cathedral tradition, and includes a daily round of rehearsals. The choirs regularly sing at worship services, including:
- Sunday at the morning Eucharist
- Daily at Evensong
Choirs include the Washington National Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, founded in 1909, and the Washington National Cathedral Choir of Men and Girls, founded in 1997.
The choral repertoire includes a generous amount of American music, as well as music from all parts of the world. In any given week, Cathedral choirs may sing a plainsong chant from the earliest centuries of the Church, a Renaissance motet by Palestrina or Byrd, an anthem or service from the Baroque era, and music composed during recent years and up to the present day.
While choristers are not required to be Episcopalian, as leaders of worship all choristers develop an awareness of the role of the Cathedral Choir as a leader of worship and of the traditions that have shaped Anglican worship. The choirs offer Choral Evensong with Preces, Responses, and Suffrages according to texts found in editions of the Book of Common Prayer from 1549 to 1979.