Attending Choral Evensong is a different experience from what one might expect when attending church. It is reflective and not outwardly participatory – one participates as much or as little as one chooses by focusing in or by zoning out.
Noted church musician, Matthew Larkin, draws attention to this contrast: “For most choirs, preparing a service of Choral Evensong is a lot of work, and for all who participate in worship, the ethos of Evensong is unlike that of other liturgies. That's what makes it so precious to some, but so disconnecting for others. Often, when we don't see the purpose of things, we find reasons not to engage.”
But he goes on to exhort his readers to give Evensong a chance: “At the same time, it's a shared responsibility: those who offer the worship have a duty to do so in a way that engages the hearts and minds of those who share in it. Conversely, those who share in it have some work to do, too: if the aesthetic seems out of reach, maybe we have to search a little deeper for that connection.”