Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians Conference XXXV: Kalamazoo, Michigan, and South Bend, Indiana, January 2018

June 29, 2018

Brian F. Gurley is director of music and organist at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, New York. He currently serves as membership chair of the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians.

The Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians (CRCCM) met in Kalamazoo, Michigan, January 8–11 for its thirty-fifth annual gathering. Thomas Fielding, director of liturgy and music at Saint Augustine Cathedral, designed and directed the gathering with help from Francis Zajac, director of liturgy and music emeritus at the cathedral; the support staff of the cathedral; and the CRCCM steering committee: Michael Batcho, director of music, Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Teri Larson, director of music and arts, Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ezequiel Menendez, director of music and organist, Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Hartford, Connecticut; Joseph Balistreri, coordinator of music ministries, Archdiocese of Detroit, and director of music, Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, Michigan; Crista Miller, director of music and organist, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, Texas; and Christoph Tietze, director of music and organist, Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco, California; with Gerald Muller, Leo Nestor, and James Savage, advising.


Monday, January 8

Conference participants gathered at Saint Augustine Cathedral for Vespers.  Reverend Thomas McNally, Vice Rector of the Cathedral, celebrated Vespers, and liturgical music was provided by Thomas Fielding and the Cathedral Choir. Choral music included Unto Us is Born a Son, arranged by David Willcocks; Christmas Lullaby by John Rutter; Tollite hostias by Camille Saint-Saëns; Awake and Arise and Hail the New Morn by Fielding; O Virgin Theotokos, Rejoice by Roman Hurko; Transeamus usque Bethlehem by Josef Ignatz Schnabel; Gesu Bambino by Pietro Yon; and Magnificat by Giuseppe Pitoni. Francis Zajac welcomed all conference participants and gave a thorough history of the cathedral, including its various renovation projects.

Saint Augustine Cathedral was dedicated in 1951. It was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Ralph Adams Cram of Boston and originally served as a parish church in the Diocese of Lansing. In 1970, Pope Paul VI created the Diocese of Kalamazoo from portions of the Dioceses of Lansing and Grand Rapids, at which time Saint Augustine Church was consecrated the diocesan cathedral of Kalamazoo. The cathedral is home to a three-manual, forty-two-rank Nichols and Simpson organ of 2002.

Following dinner in the cathedral hall, all of the participants introduced themselves. New members and first-time conference participants for 2018 included: Adam Brakel, director of music, Saint James Cathedral, Orlando, Florida; Bruce Croteau, director of liturgy, Saint James Cathedral, Orlando; Felipe Delsart, director of the polyphonic choir and adjunct organist, Metropolitan Cathedral, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Terri Dunn, conductor at Saint Michael’s Choir School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; James Grzadzinski, director of music and organist, Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet, Illinois; Mark Loria, principal organist, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Bruce Ludwick, director of music and organist, Cathedral of Saint Paul, Birmingham, Alabama; Matthew Meloche, director of sacred music, Cathedral of Saints Simon and Jude, Phoenix, Arizona; Andrew Motyka, director of archdiocesan and cathedral liturgical music, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Indiana; Charles Nolen, director of music and liturgy, Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Richard Siegel, assistant organist, Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet, Illinois; and Richard Skirpan, Cathedral of Saint Patrick, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Tuesday, January 9

On Tuesday morning, conference participants gathered for Morning Prayer at the cathedral. Prelude music was performed by David Jonies, associate director of music, Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, Illinois. Jonies played Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, opus 60, movements 2 and 3, by Max Reger. Thomas Fielding played all service music for Morning Prayer, as well as Procession by William Mathias for postlude.

Following Morning Prayer, Reverend Bradley A. Zamora, director of liturgy and instructor in the Department of Liturgy and Music, Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, delivered a keynote address on the spirituality of the cathedral musician. Fr. Zamora exhorted conference participants to maintain active prayer lives, since cathedral musicians are to be disciples. He also reminded his audience of the distinction between “working for Mass” and “attending Mass” and described his own spiritual enrichment whenever he attends Mass “as a parishioner” in the assembly.

Prior to his appointment at Mendelein Seminary, Fr. Zamora served as associate pastor and director of liturgy at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Formerly a parish music director, he maintains active membership in the National Associations of Pastoral Musicians, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, and the Patron of the Arts in Vatican Museums.

Following the keynote address, conference participants turned to the first of two CRCCM business meetings. Christoph Tietze, chair of the steering committee, led the business meeting and described the nomination and election processes for new members of the steering committee. Scott Eakins, treasurer, presented the financial status of the organization. Brian Gurley, membership chair, discussed the ongoing efforts to involve new cathedral musicians in CRCCM, and Marc Cerisier proposed technological options for much needed modernization and automation of membership initiations and renewals.

After lunch, conference participants then gathered at the Waldo Library Rare Book Room of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Elizabeth C. Teviotdale, assistant director of the WMU Medieval Institute, delivered a lecture, “The Illustration of the Music of Christian Worship in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.” Teviotdale presented a fascinating array of illuminated chant manuscripts and offered possible theological, liturgical, and musical interpretations of the illuminations as paired with their antiphons and feasts. She also called attention to a trend in manuscript illuminations, in which they became less detailed and less obviously religious in nature. This trend probably resulted from an increase in the number of illuminations carried out by lay tradesmen and women rather than religious monks and nuns. Following the lecture, conference participants were able to view selected illuminated manuscripts in the Medieval Institute Library.

Elizabeth Teviotdale received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her main research interests are early medieval Christian liturgical manuscripts and their illumination, as well as the history of collecting.

Conference participants returned to the Radisson Hotel for a composers reading session. The reading session is a forum in which conference participants have the opportunity to sing through new compositions from their colleagues.

Conference participants then moved to Saint Augustine Cathedral in the evening for a choral concert performed by the choir, Audivi. Works included Advent Responsory by Richard Marlow; Steh Auf by Christoph Demantius; The Holly and the Ivy, arranged by Reginald Jacques; Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming, arranged by Michael Praetorius; Ave Maria by Robert Parsons; Tota pulchra es à 12 by Heironymous Praetorius; Gloria and Sanctus from Mass for Double Choir by Frank Martin; Once in Royal David’s City, arranged by Arthur Henry Mann; Sanctus from Missa Et ecce terræ motus by Antoine Brumel; Away in a manger, arranged by David Willcocks; A Spotless Rose by Herbert Howells; In the Bleak Midwinter by Gustav Holst; Magnificat by Arvo Pärt; Good Christian friends, rejoice, arranged by Charles Winifred Douglas; Hymne à la Vierge by Pierre Villette; and Silent Night, arranged by Malcolm Sargent. Audivi is a professional vocal ensemble founded in 2013 and based in Detroit. The ensemble specializes in lesser-known Renaissance choral music, but also performs choral music from all eras ( For this performance, Audivi was under the direction of guest conductor Kimberly Dunn Adams, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. The concert was presented as part of the Sacred Music at the Cathedral concert series of Saint Augustine Cathedral.


Wednesday, January 10

On Wednesday morning, conference participants traveled to South Bend, Indiana, for a day trip to the University of Notre Dame. Once on campus, Paul Thornock conducted an open choral rehearsal in the Gail L. Walton Rehearsal Room of the Coleman-Morse Building. The rehearsal repertoire included Sicut cervus and Sitivit anima mea by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina; Come, let’s rejoice by John Amner; and Abendlied by Josef Rheinberger.

Following the open rehearsal and lunch on campus, conference participants gathered in the newly constructed O’Neill Hall for a lecture given by Peter Jeffery, who discussed chant and psalmody in the reformed [post-Conciliar Roman Rite] liturgy. Jeffery spoke about the relationship between Gregorian psalm tones and various vernacular adaptations (e.g., Anglican chant, Gelineau and Guimont psalm tones, and Meinrad psalm tones). He proposed the increased usage of psalmody in Christian sacramental preparation. For example, psalm refrains—set to music and relevant to any of the Sacraments—could be taught to children and adults. Upon completion of their formation, the candidates and assembly together could sing the psalm refrains as acclamations within the celebration of the particular sacrament.

Peter Jeffery holds the Michael P. Grace Chair in Medieval Studies and is professor of musicology and ethnomusicology at the University of Notre Dame.  He earned his Ph.D. in music history from Princeton University and received a “Genius Award” Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1987–1992).

O’Neill Hall is the new home of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Music, the Sacred Music Program, the Music Library, and new recital and rehearsal spaces. It is part of Notre Dame’s Campus Crossroads Project.

Following the lecture, conference participants enjoyed free time to explore Notre Dame’s campus, as well as open bench time on two of the university’s three Paul Fritts organs (Opus 24 of 2004, a two-manual, thirty-four-stop instrument in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, and Opus 37 of 2016, a four-manual, seventy-stop instrument in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart).

Following dinner, participants returned to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart for an organ concert given by Craig J. Cramer. Repertoire included Toccata in D minor, BuxWV 155, by Dieterich Buxtehude; Partita sopre diverse: Sei gegrüßet Jesu gütig, BWV 768, by Johann Sebastian Bach; Batalha de 6. Tom by Anonymous (seventeenth century); three Noëls by Jean-François Dandrieu; and Le Mystère de Noël by August Fauchard.

Craig Cramer is professor of organ at the University of Notre Dame. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and the Performer’s Certificate from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. The concert was given in memory of Gail L. Walton, director of music and organist emeritus of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and initiator of the Basilica organ project.


Thursday, January 11

Conference participants gathered for Morning Prayer at the cathedral. Prelude music was performed by Chris Stroh, principal organist at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stroh played the Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 547, by Bach. Thomas Fielding played all service music, as well as Dialogue sur les grands jeux by Louis Clérambault for postlude.

After Morning Prayer, conference participants returned to the hotel for an update from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) given by Reverend Andrew V. Menke, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship. Fr. Menke described the work of the Secretariat, which includes primarily the preparation of liturgical books and the review of publications containing excerpts from liturgical books. He also elaborated on current projects, namely an updated Rite of Exorcism, excerpts of the Roman Missal (also referred to as the Book of the Chair, as it contains collects and Mass texts not prayed from the altar), the nearly completed edition of a Spanish-language Roman Missal for the United States, a new translation of the Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, a new translation of the Rite of Blessing and Consecration of the Oils and Chrism, a Formulary for Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, a Spanish-language Book of Blessings, a new translation of the Rite of Baptism of Children (with an option for celebration during Mass), the new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours, a review of hymnody from the International Committee for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), a new translation of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA), and a new translation of the Rites of Ordination.

The morning sessions continued with the second business meeting, during which nominations to the steering committee were submitted for the upcoming election.

After lunch, Marc Cerisier delivered a presentation, “Technology for the Modern Cathedral Musician.” He highlighted the value of consistent music engraving and attractive service leaflets as visual aids to liturgical prayer. Cerisier then discussed types of software available for desktop publishing and music notation, and he demonstrated ways to prepare scores for display on tablet screens, as well as MIDI functionality for capturing organ registrations, recording, and playback.

Following the presentation, conference participants enjoyed free time to explore Kalamazoo and later gathered at Saint Augustine Cathedral for Mass. Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley, Bishop of Kalamazoo, was the celebrant and homilist. Choral music was provided by the Cathedral Choir, and repertoire included Kyrie from Missa L’hora passa by Lodovico da Viadana; Soul of Christ by Lance A. Massey (director of music at Saint Augustine Cathedral from 1984 to 1988); and Cantate Domino by Giuseppe Pitoni. Thomas Fielding played all the service music, as well as Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 552, by Bach, for the prelude; and Sonata Eroïca, opus 94, by Joseph Jongen, for the postlude.

After Mass, conference participants enjoyed an elegant closing banquet at which time appreciation was extended to Thomas Fielding, Francis Zajac, the Cathedral’s administrative staff, sponsors, and the CRCCM steering committee for organizing such a successful and enjoyable gathering.

The 2019 meeting of the CRCCM will take place in Seattle, Washington, in conjunction with the Cathedral Ministries Conference. It will be hosted by Saint James Cathedral.


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