I grew up at a church that turned its late service contemporary when I was in jr. high. This has proved an interesting experiment in memory for me--it's amazing what I remember from the hymnal, having used it during the years of my life I remember least. Canticles, propers chanted in my father's voice (yup, there was chanting even at a church that went contemporary), multiple verses of hymns . . . somehow all there. Also of note to some may be the fact that LW, that old thing we're all embarrassed about, was my lifeline to the liturgy. I know, I'm supposed to be mad about the Dignus sneaking in where it doesn't belong. But I'm mad about so many other things in life I'm not sure how bad I am for failing to nurture ire at that particular offense. My husband indulges me on this matter. He's a dear.
Everything after the first sentence is beside the point, though. The point is "its late service." The only parishes where I have seen an early contemporary service are those that have so many services some of them run concurrently (so the early contemporary service competes with a traditional service--usually the only traditional service offered). I have NEVER seen a late traditional service.
I know as well as anyone can that most people hauling kids to church will choose a later rising time and more prep time if they have the option. In fact, I do this myself and almost always attend, of my husband's two churches, the parish with a later service. But what the traditional=early equation amounts to is most of the parish's children never hearing the liturgy; never accidentally memorizing it; never learning that if you're somewhere and you hear the liturgy, you're in church; never finding a refuge from the sounds and mannerisms of pop culture. I think often of the kids younger than I was at my church who just never got to notice that things changed during Lent, who never discovered that they didn't need the hymnal for this song, who would be completely lost if they ever blundered into a liturgical church, who never heard their pastor's voice running through their heads sometime during the week--"Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord"--to make up for the sermon they weren't listening to.
I'm sure contemporary proponents would argue that this is merely a matter of practicality and has nothing to do with a desire to influence the piety of the church's children. Let's exercise some largesse about that for now. But I wonder what would happen if a church decided to hold its contemporary service early and its traditional service late.