Within the pol­ished marble walls of the chapel, the voices of the Hillsdale College Chamber Choir res­onated and echoed with the Psalms. 

The Choral Evensong service in the chapel on Sunday, Feb. 2, was a sung version of Daily Evening Prayer from the 1662 “Book of Common Prayer” in England. The service included sung hymns and Psalms as well as the chants of lessons, the Apostles’ Creed, and prayers. Rev­erend Adam Rick per­formed as the offi­ciant, sophomore Jack Gal­sterer as the cru­cifer, and senior Nathan Mes­siter and assistant pro­fessor of English Eliz­abeth Fred­ericks as readers.

“It is an Anglican service by origin,” Rick said. “The appeal of the service for a place like Hillsdale is that even though it’s Anglican in origin, it’s just scripture, psalms, and prayers based on scripture. There’s no cel­e­bration of a sacrament, so it’s very ecu­menical in who can engage it, who can find it wor­shipful for them, so that’s one of the reasons why it’s so appealing for those here because it’s so rep­re­sen­tative of a broad swath of Christian daily prayer tra­di­tions.”

Although there are many student min­istries who have done reli­gious ser­vices in the Christ chapel and the chapel in the Dow Center, the full reper­toire by the chamber choir was new for the campus. Fr. Adam added that “it’s cer­tainly been Arnn’s expressed intention” for there to be more Evensong ser­vices in the future.

 “This service has been sung daily in the cathe­drals and col­leges of England for 500 years,” he said. “There’s enough music to fill that out, and so a lot of the words would be the same, the scripture readings would be dif­ferent but Arnn is ambi­tious, and I’m sure he would be happy with daily, though I’m not sure if we could pull that off quite yet. But cer­tainly I would like to ramp it up over time.”

He said it was important to note that the Choral Evensong is not a per­for­mance.

“The service is not a concert. It is a worship service,” Fr. Adam said. “It’s for the glory of God, and I’m sure that he was glo­rified today.”

Alan Kotlyar, a senior and member of the choir, said the choir started preparing for the service the day before classes started this semester which allowed the choir to make per­sonal con­nec­tions with each other.

“We use music as a kind of conduit for making con­nec­tions with each other, and when we’re a tight-knit group, our music sounds better,” Kotlyar said. “We want to sound like we are not indi­vidual voices but like we are singing as a whole, we are in sync with each other.”

He said the choir per­forming a service in the chapel was a mile­stone. 

“It kind of affirms the Christian nature of our college,” Kotlyar said. “If there was any doubt in people’s minds that this was a Christian college or not, you’ve got the college choir – it’s not a chapel choir, it’s not a Christian choir, it’s the choir – if you are a Hillsdale College student and you get into the top choir, you are going to be singing in this service. It is a statement of ori­en­tation of the college.”

He also said the chamber choir takes the role of being the musical element of the reli­gious ser­vices. 

“Arnn has told the choir per­sonally that one of the pur­poses of the chapel being built is to develop musi­cality on campus,” Kotlyar said. “It is a place of worship and it is also a place where the choir can perform and where the orchestra can perform.”

In an email to the campus the day fol­lowing the service, Pres­ident Larry Arnn expressed his grat­itude for those behind the service and stressed the impor­tance of the “excellent work” done by them.

“This par­ticular work is espe­cially important because the chapel is important and because Choral Evensong is one of the pur­poses for which it is designed,” Arnn wrote. “Join me in thanking them for this extra and excep­tional effort. And plan to come to the next Evensong. It is inspiring.”