Wells Cathedral: Locked Out/ Locked In

Last summer, a group of choir members from St. Alban’s had the opportunity to go to England for a week to be the Choir in Residence at Wells Cathedral. We sang the daily services of Morning and Evening Prayer, and also had the opportunity to sing at Coventry Cathedral and St. Alban’s Abbey, and also with the members of a local parish choir. This week, instead of our Daily Cup offerings, we will hear from four of the participants about that experience and what it meant to them. 

Rehearsal room?
We call it Choir School
Bear right
Turn left down the corridor
Heavy door on the right
Short hallway
Through another door
Choir school on the left
But the heavy door is locked
Three choir members waiting
Then five, then ten
No point in knocking—three doors away
Why is everyone late for rehearsal?
Maybe someone should check that outer door.
Ahh… here you all are.
Next time we’ll stick a stone in the door.
But the stone’s too small; the door locks anyway.
Two choir members waiting, then six
Precious minutes wasting
Today’s canticles unrehearsed
Until at last a rescue.
Who has the key today?
This door is locked AGAIN
Katherine has it; she’s right behind us.
All frustrations vanish
With the Dean’s prayerful greeting
Our favorite verger escorting us
Past a favorite medieval carving
Of the woman pulling a thorn from her foot
Through soaring scissor arches
Into the hushed and hallowed Quire.
Evensong beginning
The organ, the voices
No longer thirty singers or four parts
But one sound
Amplified by this space
Sharing the beautiful, simple words of the service.
Lifting our spirits upwards
Inspiring our best music.
These are the memories
Locked in
Our hearts forever
Not just a choir
But a seamless tradition of music and faith
Every evening
For centuries
At Wells Cathedral.

 Wendy Wick Reaves, an alto


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6 Responses to Wells Cathedral: Locked Out/ Locked In

  1. Lois Stratton says:

    Wendy: Your poem is so lovely. Thanks for sharing. LOIS

  2. Linda Wilson says:

    Ah, Wendy, you perfectly captured that moment when we made the daily journey from anxiety to stillness to oneness with each other and with God.

  3. Penny says:

    Beautiful, Wendy! Your poem took me there on all levels.

  4. Marianna Dunn says:

    I love the title. Wendy’s words have captured our unique experience at Wells that proved to be so uplifting.

  5. How beautifully you captured not only your experience at Wells, but the choral experience universal! I wish George and I had been able to be with you. Maybe next trip!

  6. Anton Vanterpool II says:

    I appreciate your Advent moment from the pilgrimmage. I’ll be more aware when I’m waiting for choir practice to start in the room and remember that my teammates may be just outside the door waiting to come in.

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