The Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians (CRCCM) met in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from January 8-11, 2018, for its 35th 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 at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, WI; Teri Larson, Director of Music and Arts at the Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis, MN; Ezequiel Menendez, Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Hartford, CT; Joseph Balistreri, Coordinator of Music Ministries, Archdiocese of Detroit, and Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, MI; Crista Miller, Director of Music and Organist at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, TX; and Christoph Tietze, Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco, CA; with Gerald Muller, Leo Nestor, and James Savage, advising).

Monday, January 8

Conference participants arrived in Kalamazoo with accommodations at the Radisson Hotel and proceeded to Saint Augustine Cathedral for Vespers.  The Reverend Thomas McNally, Vice Rector of the Cathedral, celebrated Vespers, and liturgical music was provided by Dr. 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 Dr. 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.  Mr. Zajac welcomed all conference participants and gave a thorough history of the Cathedral, including its various renovation projects.

The current Saint Augustine Cathedral was dedicated in 1951.  It was designed in the Gothic Revival style by the renowned Boston Architect Ralph Adams Cram 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 first diocesan Cathedral of Kalamazoo.  The cathedral is home to the 3-manual, 42-rank Nichols and Simpson Organ of 2002.

Following Vespers, conference participants enjoyed a dinner together in the Cathedral Hall, prepared by Maggie’s Catering and sponsored by Peter’s Way Tours, Inc.  After dinner, all of the participants introduced themselves.  New members and first-time conference participants for 2018 included: Adam Brakel, Director of Music at Saint James Cathedral in Orlando, FL; Bruce Croteau, Director of Liturgy at Saint James Cathedral in Orlando, FL; Felipe Delsart, Director of the Polyphonic Choir and Adjunct Organist at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Terri Dunn, Conductor at Saint Michael’s Choir School in Toronto, Canada; James Grzadzinski, Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet, IL; Mark Loria, Principal Organist at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, PA; Bruce Ludwick, Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham, AL; Matthew Meloche, Director of Sacred Music at the Cathedral of Saints Simon and Jude in Phoenix, AZ; Andrew Motyka, Director of Archdiocesan and Cathedral Liturgical Music in the Archdiocese of Indianapolic, IN; Charles Nolen, Director of Music and Liturgy at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids, MI; Richard Siegel, Assistant Organist at the Cathedral of Saint Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet, IL; and Richard Skirpan at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Harrisburg, PA.

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 at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, IL.  Mr. Jonies played Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 60, movements 2 and 3, by Max Reger.  Dr. Fielding played all service music for Morning Prayer, as well as Procession by William Mathias for postlude.

Following Morning Prayer, the Reverend Bradley A. Zamora, Director of Liturgy and Instructor in the Department of Liturgy and Music at Mundelein Seminary (Mundelein, IL), delivered a keynote address on the Spirituality of the Cathedral Musician.  Fr. Zamora exhorted conference participants to maintain an active prayer life, 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, Fr. Zamora 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 returned to the Radisson Hotel for 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.

Following the Business Meeting, conference participants found lunch on their own.

Conference participants then gathered at the Waldo Library Rare Book Room of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.  Professor Elizabeth C. Teviotdale, Assistant Director of the WMU Medieval Institute delivered a lecture, titled “The Illustration of the Music of Christian Worship in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.”  Prof. 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.

Professor Elizabeth C. 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 the Composers Reading Session.  The reading session is a forum in which conference participants have the opportunity to sing through through new compositions from their colleagues.

Conference participants returned to Saint Augustine Cathedral in the evening for a choral concert performed by the Detroit-based professional 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 the 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 Dr. Kimberly Dunn Adams, who is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activites 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, IN, for a day trip to the University of Notre Dame.  Once on campus, Dr. Paul Thornock conducted an open choral rehearsal in the Dr. 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 Dr. Peter Jeffery, who discussed chant and psalmody in the reformed [post-conciliar Roman Rite] liturgy.  Prof. 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.

Dr. 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 received his Ph.D. in Music History from Princeton University and received a “Genius Award” Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1987-92).

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, the largest building project in University history.

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 2-manual, 34-stop instrument in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, and Opus 37 of 2016, a 4-manual, 70-stop instrument in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart).

Conference participants enjoyed dinner at the campus restaurant Legend’s of Notre Dame, courtesy of Corporate Travel Service.

Following dinner, participants returned to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart for an organ concert given by Dr. Craig J. Cramer.  Repertoire included Toccata in D minor, BuxWV 155 by Dieterich Buxtehude; Partita spore diverse: Sei gegrüßet Jesu gütig, BWV 768 by Johann Sebastian Bach; Batalha de 6. Tom by Anonymous (17th Century); Three Noëls by Jean-François Dandrieu; and Le Mystère de Noël by August Fauchard.

Dr. Craig J. Cramer is Professor of Organ at the University of Notre Dame.  He received the degree Doctor of Musical Arts and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music.  The concert was given in memory of the late Dr. 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

On Thursday morning, 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, MN.  Mr. Stroh played the Prelude and Fugue in C Major (“9/8”), BWV 547 by Bach.  Dr. Fielding played all service music for Morning Prayer, as well as Dialogue sur les grands jeux by Louis Clérambault for postlude.

After Morning Prayer, conference participants returned to the Radisson Hotel for an update from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) given by the 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 Thursday sessions continued with the second Business Meeting, during which nominations to the Steering Committee were submitted for the upcoming election.  After the Business Meeting, conference participants found lunch on their own.

After lunch, Marc Cerisier delivered a presentation titled “Technology for the Modern Cathedral Musician.”  He highlighted the value of consistent music engraving and attractive service leaflets as visual aids to liturgical prayer.  Mr. Cerisier then discussed all 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.  The Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley, D.D., Bishop of Kalamazoo, was the celebrant and homilist for Mass.  Choral music was provided by the Cathedral Choir, and repertoire included Kyrie from the 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.  Dr. Fielding played all service music for Mass, as well as Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major (“St. Anne”), BWV 552 by Bach for prelude; and Sonata Eroïca, Op. 94 by Joseph Jongen for postlude.

After Mass, conference participants enjoyed an elegant closing banquet at the Prime Chophouse of the historic Henderson Castle.  Well-deserved 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, WA, in conjunction with the Cathedral Ministries Conference.  It will be hosted by Saint James Cathedral in Seattle.

submitted by
Brian F. Gurley, D.M.A.
Director of Music and Organist
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Albany, New York




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