Monday, January 7
The Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians opened its 25th conference at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick, one of the world’s most famous cathedral’s in the heart of Manhattan. Greeted by Cathedral Music Director Jennifer Pascual and her staff, and Cathedral Rector, Msgr. Robert Ritchie, participants were given a brief tour and introduction to the cathedral. After the tour a presentation by the cathedral’s organ curator, John Pergallo from the Pergallo Organ Company highlighted the restoration and expansion (completed in 1997) of the cathedral’s 150 rank Kilgen organ. A short recital featuring Donald Dumler, Principal Cathedral Organist and Music Director Jennifer Pascual concluded the introduction to the cathedral. The participants were treated to an opening banquet hosted by Peter Bahou from Peter’s Way Tours in the cathedral undercroft. The traditional opening rituals of welcome were conducted by Anthony DiCello, CRCCM Steering Committee Chairman. The evening commenced in the hospitality suite at the Best Western Presidential Hotel on 48th Street where the conference members were housed.
Tuesday, January 8
Today’s schedule began with a visit to the Cathedral-Basilica of the Sacred Heart hosted by John Miller, cathedral music director. The day began with sung Morning Prayer with the cathedral rector presiding. Following the liturgy the associate organist, Vincent Carr gave brief presentation of the history and architectural facets of this beautiful center where Anthony DiCello conducted the first business session. Here the meeting centered on a group discussion of initial draft of the Cathedral Primer Project. A catered buffet lunch followed the business meeting.
In the afternoon the conference boarded buses to travel to Brooklyn to visit theCathedral-Basilica of Saint James where Cathedral Music Director Joseph Smith and the Cathedral Rector, Msgr. John Strynkowski greeted and welcomed us. An introduction to the cathedral organ, originally built in
1927 by the Austin Organ Company was made by James Konzelman who rebuilt the organ (41 ranks) in 1981. Joseph Smith gave a short demonstration of the tonal colors of the organ. The afternoon session included a presentation by Msgr. Anthony Sherman, secretariat for the Bishops’ Committee for Divine Worship. Here the participants were lead in a presentation and discussion of the newest statement on Catholic Church Music: Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship issued in November 2007 by the USCCB. The meeting ended with sung Vespers in the cathedral which included a commemoration for the deceased members of CRCCM.
Wednesday, January 9
The day began with a morning mass for the conference celebrated in the Lady Chapel of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral with Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Sullivan as presider. Music was sung by the Cathedral Choir directed by Jennifer Pascual, which included a performance of Ubi Caritas by CRCCM member, Richard Kidd. Donald Dumler played the organ. Following the cathedral mass, the conference boarded the train to Rockville Centre to visit Saint Agnes Cathedral where we were greeted by the cathedral rector, Msgr. Robert Guglielmone and our hosts Michael Bowers and Michael Wustrow, co-directors of music. The participants were given an introduction to the cathedral’s new Wicks organ installed in 2001. Both cathedral organists played a short recital of music. After the recital the second CRCCM business meeting
was conducted which included announcing the 2009 conference site of Pittsburgh, PA with Don Fellows as host. The financial report was presented and nominations for new steering committee members were made. The conference moved to bestow lifetime memberships to the three living founding members: Richard Proulx, Gerald Muller and Leo Nestor. The conference moved to make a memorial gift to the New Orleans cathedral in memory of the late Dr. Elise Cambon, former cathedral music director who recently died. The annual members composition reading session followed. The final event of the evening was an Epiphany Concert presented by the cathedral choirs with orchestra and organ conducted by Michael Bowers and Michael Wustrow. During the concert the mayor of the village of Rockville Centre presented CRCCM with a proclamation to honor the presence of the conference.
Thursday, January 10
Today’s breakfast was sponsored by the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company. Following breakfast, the conference members walked to the Saint Thomas Choir School where we sat in on the morning choral rehearsal of the choristers led by John Scott, music director. Dr. Scott demonstrated a typical rehearsal, which involved rehearsing for the late afternoon choral evensong and as well as preparing for other works including the U.S. premier of a new Mass by John Tavener: Solemnitas in Conceptione Immaculata Mariae Virginis. Following the rehearsal Dr. Scott and some members of the staff met with the participants to answer our questions about the choir school and the musical program. Next, the conference traveled to Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for an open rehearsal with theNew York Philharmonic led by their music director Lorin Maazel. We were treated to the final dress rehearsal for this evening’s concert featuring: Berlioz Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, Prokofiev Symphony No. 7 Berlioz: La mort de Cléopâtre featuring soprano Susan Graham and Prokofiev Scythian Suite. Following the rehearsal we were treated to a wonderful catered lunch partially sponsored by GIA Publications in Lincoln Center. Our third event of the day took us to Saint Ignatius Loyola Church where we were greeted by Kent Tritle, director of music ministries and his music staff Nancianne Parella, associate organist and Renée Anne Louprette, Associate Director of Music. Kent spoke to us about the scope of his music program and concert series. He demonstrated the marvelous Mander Organ considered one of New York’s finest mechanical action instruments, and led us through a choral reading session of works composed for the choir of Saint Ignatius. Following his presentation members were invited to visit and play the organ located in the rear gallery.
Late in the afternoon we returned to Saint Thomas Church to attend choral Evensong sung by the choir of men and boys. After Evensong we boarded the buses for our trip to the New York Archdiocese for our annual banquet. We enjoyed a wonderful feast atop the archdiocesan center, which included a wonderful view of Manhattan. Tonight’s banquet and cocktail hour was sponsored by His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York. Representing the Archbishop who was unable to attend, was Bishop Sullivan.
Friday, January 11
Today’s final sessions took place at Saint Malachy’s Church, better known as the Actors Chapel,
located a short walk from our hotel. The day began with sung morning prayer led by the pastor,
Fr. Richard Baker. Following the prayer service our guest speaker, Msgr. Kevin Urwin from Catholic University of America addressed the conference on the process of ICEL and the English translation of the Roman Missal.
Report submitted by Anthony DiCello