Choral Vespers

Thursday, September 9, 2021
Choral Vespers
7:00 pm
Choral Vespers
Location: Duke Chapel

For thirty-five years, Choral Vespers has been a way to end the busy work day with scripture, prayer, and sacred music. The service is led by Chapel and local ministers with music from the Duke Vespers Ensemble.

In today’s service, we are commemorating the events of September 11, 2001: those who died, and those whose lives were forever changed. We begin with an extended Introit of movements from the Requiem Mass by the Flemish composer Jacobus de Kerle. The service includes two settings of the 13th century hymn Media vita (“In the midst of life, we are in death”), a somber text which, as we continue to be impacted by natural and man-made disasters, reminds us of our human frailty. In his setting, the baroque Belgian composer Henry Du Mont uses a variety of musical effects to emphasize the text, including some startling dissonances. Tonight’s service ends, as it began, with a motet from the Office of the Dead, Versa est in luctum, by the Spanish composer Francisco da Peñalosa. With its gentle, flowing polyphony, this reminds us of, and unites us with, those who have expressed grief and found relief through music for many centuries.

Face masks are required on the Duke campus in all indoor and outdoor locations. Learn more about the university's public health measures.

Parking is available on a first-come-first-served basis in the Bryan Center garage at 125 Science Drive. ADA parking is available in the Bryan Center Surface Lot at the same address. For more parking options, visit

People attending the service are invited to sit in the first set of choir stalls in the chancel area where the altar is located or in the main sanctuary (nave).

A livestream of the service is available below and a recording is available on the site afterwards. Also watch the service live on channel 12 of the Duke Hospital TV system or channel 110 of the Duke Campus Vision TV system.

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