For eight generations Chautauquans have been gathering in the Amphitheater on Sunday evenings to join the Chautauqua Choir for the Sacred Song Services.
Cast in a vesper format at the close of the day and bookended by the beloved hymns "Day Is Dying in the West" and "Now the Day Is Over", these services combine the musical gifts of one of the world's largest singing congregations with the 125-voice Chautauqua Choir, all led by the 5,640 pipes of the Massey Memorial Organ.
Many styles of music from the past five hundred years are presented, and a special feature is the inclusion of scriptural and devotional readings and prayers carefully selected to reflect each week's theme. Since 1907, every Sacred Song Service has closed with the playing of "Largo" from George Frederick Handel's opera Xerxes, a beloved custom which has been a vital part of the Chautauqua Experience for many, many people over the years. All services begin at 8 p.m. and last approximately one hour.