The CRCCM "Millennial Gathering" was hosted by four institutions: the Cathedral of St. Matthew, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, and the Chapels at Fort Meyer. The planning committee comprised Richard Gibala (chair), Leo Nestor, John Balka, and Robert Schaaf, with a host of others involved as well.
Conference XVI opened on Monday evening with a social hour to welcome attendees, the presentation of the agenda, and the distribution of printed materials from many cathedrals. Nearly sixty members were in attendance.
Tuesday began with Morning Prayer and an initial business meeting. A spiritual conference for musicians was led by Rev. Godfery Mosley, pastor of St. Columba Parish, Washington. Afternoon sessions included a reading of new music by CRCCM composers, followed by an organ demonstration of the highly-acclaimed Lively-Fulcher organ at St. Patrick's Church in the City. Members were then given a tour of the NCCB/USCC headquarters and a discussion with the BCL staff took place. Evening activities moved to the Basilica of the National Shrine, where a tour of the building was followed by a formal reception hosted by the Rev. Msgr. Michael Bransfield, Rector. Gathered in the Crypt Church, CRCCM and many guests were given a preludial concert by the Basilica musicians, including organists Robert Grogan and Peter Latona, and the Basilica Choir, directed by Leo Nestor. Solemn Evening Prayer followed the concert.
Following Wednesday Morning Prayer, a presentation was given by Peter Finn (ICEL) and Rev. James Moroney (BCL): "A Musician's Guide to the New Sacramentary and Lectionary" and "The Lectionary and Policy for Setting Texts". Afternoon sessions took members to Washington National Cathedral for a tour of the building and a lecture by Douglas Major on the musical hstory of the cathedral and the current format of the music program and its choirs. We were invited to the boy choristers' rehearsal in preparation for Evensong, which we attended in the choir stalls. An evening journey was made to Fort Meyer, Virginia, where hosts Robert Schaaf and Randall Sheets offered a musical history of the Fort, and Evening Prayer was sung at Memorial Chapel. The event concluded with a performance by the U. S. Army Chorus.
Thursday Morning Prayer was followed by a business meeting to discuss plans/issues regarding the 2000 joint conference with rectors to be held in San Antonio. Richard Proulx read a paper entitled "From Power and Control to Paths of Service". Mid-afternoon brought CRCCM to the Cathedral of St. Thomas More for a joint session with NPM/DMMD. Rev. Paul Philibert, OP, from the University of Notre Dame, delivered a paper entitled "Is There Still a Canticum Perenne (...an Eternal Song)?" Prepared responses were given by James Savage and Robert Batastini which initialed a discussion. Celebration of the Eucharist began with a performance of Widor's monumental Gothic Symphony played by Haig Mardirosian, former Director of Music at St. Thomas More. The Cathedral Choir was led by Richard Gibala. Dinner (courtesy of DMMD) was followed by special presentations to Robert Wyatt, Gerald Muller, and Robert Twynham.
Friday Morning Prayer was followed by the concluding business meeting and nomination of new Steering Committee members. An afternoon session at St. Matthew's Cathedral featured organ works by CRCCM members played on the new Lively-Fulcher organ. We returned to the Cathedral for Christmastide Vespers with the Cathedral Choir, led by John Balka, which was followed by a concluding choral meditation. After a festive reception held in the cathedral sacristy hosted by Rev. W.R. Jameson, Rector, members walked to the Madison Hotel for the concluding CRCCM banquet.