Virtual Compline

The Friends of Cathedral Music (now Cathedral Music Trust) and the Ouseley Church Music Trust launched the Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund in April and have since been joined by the Choir Schools’ Association.  The partnership is delighted that the Church Commissioners have announced match-funding up to our target of £1m and will be funding all lay clerks of the 42 Anglican Cathedrals through to December this year. CCEF will be providing emergency funding for others, including choristers, from September then needs-based funding of all cathedral choirs from January.

In order to celebrate this, say thank you and keep the momentum of donations going we are organising a Virtual Compline to be sung exclusively by cathedral Lay Clerks. Roderick Williams has agreed to act as Cantor and Vocal Leader, Bob Chilcott is writing an Introit, Joanna Marsh a Nunc Dimittis and Paul Mealor an Anthem, all as a gift to the fund. Eddie Redmayne has agreed to read the lesson (Revelation 22.1-5 (KJV)). It should be a very special service.

Our ambitious aim is to get every cathedral lay clerk in the country to sing. We hope you will! The timescale is very short, as we want to get this out by August. All instructions and guide tracks can be found here. Please register if you intend to take part, and start recording straight away. Please pass on to furloughed colleagues in other cathedrals who might not get the message.

We do hope you will participate: it could just make the difference in the retention of professional singers in our cathedral choirs.

Virtual Compline Instructions for Registration and Filming

You will need two devices for the recording; one to film yourself and one to watch/listen to the guide track (through headphones). Scroll to the bottom of this page to find the guide tracks.


Please record both audio and video on the same device. A modern smartphone or tablet will be perfect.

Please place the phone/tablet at eye level on a flat surface or stand/tripod about 1 – 2 metres away from you.

Make sure the device is set to record in landscape.

If possible, please have the music out of camera shot.



Please record in a relatively dry acoustic. A room in your home should be fine.

At the start of each guide track you will be asked to clap. Please make sure that the clap is in camera shot.

Please leave a few seconds of silence at the end.


Sending in your recording

Before you send us any files, please complete the registration form by clicking on the button below. This will ensure we know to expect recordings from you and can contact you if we have any questions.

Virtual Compline Registration Form

When saving your recordings, please include your name, voice part and the relevant part of the service in the file name.

Please send your files using WeTransfer to virtualcompline@fcm.org.uk. Please also include your name, choral foundation and voice part in the message area of the WeTransfer.

You can attach more than one recording to each transfer but the free version of WeTransfer has a 2GB limit so you may need to send your recordings in batches.

If you have any questions, please contact us at virtualcompline@fcm.org.uk



Order of Service (including plainsong)

Guide tracks for the Introit, Nunc Dimittis and Anthem will be uploaded as soon as the music is received from the composers.



Roderick Williams will be the Cantor for the service.
He has kindly recorded himself both as cantor and leading the responses so we have a guide for tempi and phrasing. His responses won’t be part of the final edit.

We would like all tenors and basses to sing this and as many altos as would like to. Please note, we are asking the plainsong to be a true unison so altos would need to sing the same pitch as tenors and basses. For reference, the reciting note will be B flat.



Before the ending of the day
The first phrase is sung by the Cantor alone


Psalm 134

We will be alternating between Cantor and choir for the verses. The Cantor will sing the odd numbered verses, the choir will sing the even numbered verses. We are also alternating the Gloria so the choir will only sing the second half.



The first time, please join in at the asterisk; the second time these will be sung by the choir.



The collects for this service will be “Lighten our darkness…” and “O God, your unfailing providence…”
The Salve Regina will only be sung by the Cantor.


The Service will be led by Revd. Lucy Winkett. Singers will be asked to record the spoken responses, confession, Amens, etc . This will be the last item added for recording.


Guide tracks

Preces, Hymn, Psalm 134

Responsory, Custodi me ut pupillam, Antiphon before Nunc Dimittis

Antiphon after Nunc Dimittis, Kyrie and Lord’s Prayer, First and Second Responds, Collects, Conclusion


Thank you very much for taking part