The 28th Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians was held January 3-7, 2011 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral Music Director Brian Luckner was the Conference host. The focus of the conference was the recent installation of the new Noack organs at the cathedral and the new Shrine.
The Conference opened on Monday evening with Evening Prayer. A light dinner reception followed with the traditional introduction of participants and overview of the week. Tuesday began with Morning Prayer in the cathedral, participants seated in the large open chapel back of the main altar. The morning was spent with a tour of the cathedral, given by the rector (Reverend Michael J. Gorman), and a demonstration of the organ by Brian, then time for members to play the instrument. After lunch, there was a presentation on the life and work of the late Richard Proulx, esteemed founding member of the conference, given by Leo Nestor, Gerald Muller, James Savage, and Don Fellows. After a break, Mr. Fritz Noack gave a presentation on the new Noack organs in La Crosse. This was followed by Business Meeting A, then dinner. In the evening, all returned to the cathedral to hear the Cathedral Gallery Singers in a stunning choral concert.
Wednesday Morning Prayer was sung in the cathedral, followed by a trip and tour of Maria Angelorum Chapel, then on to the new Shrine Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patron Saint of North America. This event began with a brief video orientation. The wonderful lunch was held in the pilgrimage banquet hall, which resembled a large refectory in Italy or Spain. After lunch, the group walked up the snowy, hilly drive to the Shrine for a tour and demonstration of the new Noack organ and then open console time. After walking back down the hill, Raymond Cardinal Burke gave a presentation to CRCCM on “The Role of the Arts in the Liturgy.” In the evening the membership attended an organ recital in the cathedral, played by Mr. Martin Baker, Director of Music of Westminster Cathedral, London. (This was the 2nd official dedicatory recital of the new organ.)
Thursday began again with Morning Prayer followed by a presentation from Martin Baker on the “The Music Program at Westminster Cathedral.” Business Meeting B followed with the nomination of candidates for the Steering Committee. The other main point of business was the renovation of the website. (The business meetings were conducted by Michael L. Bower, of St. Agnes Cathedral, Diocese of Rockville Centre, CRCCM Steering Committee Chair). After a lunch break there was a panel discussion of the use of Gregorian Chant and the Polyphonic Ordinary, taking as a point of departure Fr. Anthony Ruff’s book “Sacred Music and the Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformation” (Chapters 20 and 21). This interesting session was followed by the usual CRCCM composer’s reading session, facilitated by John Romeri.
The Concluding Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse. The Prayer of the Faithful included the names of the deceased members of the Conference. The closing banquet was held at the Waterfront Restaurant, adjacent to the mighty Mississippi River.