St. Marks Gregorian Chants on Sundays


Over the holidays,  my friend had an excellent suggestion. She told me on Sunday nights at church on Capitol Hill, there was a choir that performed Gregorian chant. My curiosity was stirred and everyone else in our group seemed to be into it too. We decided it would be a great way to kick off the week of Christmas. We did not know we were all in for a very emotional experience.

I recently said to this same friend, “I love that the world is getting smaller.” Yes, the world is getting smaller and cozier the more technology takes off, the more affordable it is to travel, the more able we come to meet people from around the world. My group represented this notion. We were all of different faiths (or non-religious), all different ages, completely different upbringings and some of us first learned another language that was not English. We are a very diverse group. That’s what made our experience at St. Marks Cathedral so special. Music is humanity’s most primal language. We need no background other than being a human being to connect.

My oh my, I’m almost weeping thinking about it again.

We entered the building with columns towering over us, supporting the arched ceiling. People whispered. It seemed every person of every background was there. A lot of them were camped out on the ground, wrapped in blankets while cradling small children, some were spread-eagle on the floor with their arms crossed over their hearts staring up above. Somehow we found seats in wooden pews. The Cathedral had a warm, amber glow and it felt like we had all been waiting for this music. No doubt it had been a long week. We needed it.

The choir solemnly walked in. They take their job very seriously. No one was pretentious. It’s such a sacred thing you can’t not take it seriously.

Then they began. Slowly they eased us into the moment. At some point we began to close our eyes. At some point I saw beautiful imagery in my mind as did my sweetheart sitting next to me. At some point we all opened our eyes and some of us wiped tears away. Some of us were able to blink them back.

It has been a long time since I have heard Gregorian chant. I think it’s a wonderful, peaceful way to begin the week. It happens at 9:30pm every Sunday. Please, do go enjoy and experience a bit of sacredness, however you define it.

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