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Celebrations at BBC Radio 3

The longest-running OB in the history of the BBC, The Radio 3 Choral Evensong is celebrating 80 years of live broadcasting.

This anniversary coincides with celebrations around the station's 60th birthday this autumn. The first live broadcast of Choral Evensong was on the National Programme on Thursday 7 October 1926.

A special programme takes place at Westminster Abbey on 11 October at 4.00pm, in which James O'Donnell directs the Choir of Westminster Abbey, performing music by Byrd, Purcell, Stanford, Walton and Patrick Gowers.

Its enduring popularity is reflected in the fact that it is one of the most frequently requested programmes via Listen Again on Radio 3's website.

The programme visits nearly 100 different cathedrals, abbeys, monasteries, churches and chapels all over the world.

The anniversary season will include other special broadcasts including a Vespers from the Spanish monastery of Montserrat, an Evensong as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of the University of Durham from Durham Cathedral with the BBC Philharmonic; and a visit to the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester celebrating Elgar's 150th birthday.

A recent Jazz Evensong was broadcast from the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, composed entirely by the renowned baritone, Roderick Williams.

Forthcoming broadcasts will include vintage material recorded during the programme's history from the Fifties to the Eightoes, including services from St Michael's Tenbury Wells under Lucian Nethsingha; Christ Church Cathedral Oxford under Simon Preston; and Peterborough Cathedral under Stanley Vann.

Roger Wright, Controller of Radio 3, said: "Choral Evensong has gained many loyal and dedicated listeners throughout its history and it continues to be a popular part of the Radio 3 schedule. We celebrate its 80th birthday as part of special autumn programming marking the station's 60th birthday."

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