Conference XXXVI

Seattle, Washington, January 2019

The Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians (CRCCM) met in Seattle,Washington, from January 14-17, 2019, for its 36th annual gathering.  The gathering took place jointly with the Cathedral Ministries Conference, including clergy and lay pastoral staff members from cathedrals around the United States.  Joseph Adam, Director of Music and Organist at Saint James Cathedral, designed and directed the gathering with the Reverend Michael G. Ryan, Rector and Pastor of Saint James Cathedral; Samuel Libra, Associate Organist of the Cathedral; Marjorie Bunday, Administrative Assistant for Music and Concert Manager; the administrative staff of the Cathedral; and the CRCCM Steering Committee (Joseph Balistreri, Coordinator of Music Ministries, Archdiocese of Detroit, and Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, MI; Phil Bordeleau, Director of Sacred Music at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver, CO; 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; 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 14

Conference participants arrived in Seattle with accommodations at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel and proceeded to Saint James Cathedral for Vespers.  Fr. Ryan presided at Vespers, and liturgical music was provided by Mr. Adam and cantors of the Cathedral.  In his homily, Fr. Ryan described the missionary roots and charism of the Archdiocese of Seattle, particularly under the patronage of Saint James.  Organ music included “Claire de lune” from Pièces de Fantaisie, op. 53, by Louis Vierne; and Fugue sur le nom d’Alain, op. 7, by Maurice Duruflé.

The original see city of the Archdiocese was in Vancouver, Washington, later relocated to Seattle in 1903 at the request of the Most Reverend Edward J. O’Dea, the newly appointed bishop of Vancouver.  Bishop O’Dea established the parish of Saint James Cathedral in 1904, and the cornerstone of the new cathedral church was laid in 1905.  The Holy See granted Bishop O’Dea’s request to move the see city to Seattle on September 11, 1907.  Saint James Cathedral was designed in the Renaissance Revival style by the New York-based architecture firm Heins & LaFarge.  The cathedral sustained significant damage from a major snow storm in 1916, when the central dome collapsed in its entirety, and the dome has not been rebuilt.  Several renovation projects have been completed since then, the most recent one in 1994.  The cathedral is home to the 4-manual, 51-rank Hutchings-Votey Organ of 1907 and the 3-manual, 48-rank Rosales Organ of 2000; both of these instruments can be played together, serving together regularly in liturgies and concerts.  In addition, the Cathedral Chapel houses a 2-manual, 6-rank organ built by Frank Robl, who was a parishioner of Saint James Cathedral.  Originally installed in Mr. Robl’s residence, his family presented it to the Cathedral after his passing and in his memory.

Following Vespers, conference participants enjoyed fellowship at an elegant reception with hearty hors d’œuvres in the conference hotel.

Tuesday, January 15

On Tuesday morning, conference participants gathered for Morning Prayer at Plymouth Congregational Church.  Service music and voluntaries were performed by Mr. Adam, and organ repertoire included “Romance” from Symphony No. 4 in G Major, op. 32, by Louis Vierne; and In dir ist Freude, BWV 615, by Johann Sebastian Bach.  Plymouth Congregational Church (UCC) is home to a 3-manual, 55-stop organ built in 2015 by C. B. Fisk, Inc. organ builders of Gloucester, MA.

Following Morning Prayer, the Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, GA, delivered a keynote address titled: “The Hungers of a Wealthy People: The Eucharistic Bread of Life.”  Archbishop Gregory identified physical, spiritual, and moral hungers that manifest themselves in societies and individuals of all backgrounds.  He cautioned that, while physical hunger is often more easily recognized and addressed, spiritual and moral hungers for holiness and unity often go unsatisfied with longer and more devastating effects.  Archbishop Gregory exhorted all leaders in the Church—especially those involved in liturgical ministry—to be wary of ritual familiarity, which can lead to lack of wonder and awe, or in the worst cases, contempt.  He concluded his address, reminding his audience that it is the Eucharist alone that can satisfy our deepest hungers.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory has served in many leading roles in the U.S. church. In November 2001, he was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops following three years as vice president.  He currently serves as the chair of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship.  Archbishop Gregory has written extensively on church issues, including pastoral statements on the death penalty, euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide and has published numerous articles on the subject of liturgy, particularly in the African-American community (from cathedralministry.org).

Following the Keynote Address and a coffee break, conference participants assembled for the first of two CRCCM Business Meetings.  Christoph Tietze, Chair of the Steering Committee, began the meeting by reading the CRCCM Mission Statement, after which all present introduced themselves.  New members and first-time conference participants for 2019 included: Joseph Bazyouros, Director of Music at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, CA; Horst Bucholz, Director of Sacred Music at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, St. Louis, MO; Richard Clark, Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA; Kevin Culver, Director of Music and Liturgy at Christ the King Cathedral, Atlanta, GA; Valerie Holland, Director of Music and Liturgy at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Rockford, IL; Jason Jeffrey, Director of Music Ministries at the Cathedral of the Annunciation, Stockton, CA; Calvin Liu, Director of Music at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu, HI; Rick McLaughlin, Director of Music Ministry at San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, TX; S. Bryan Priddy, Principal Conductor of the Saint Michael’s Choir School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Grace Renaud, Director of the Spanish Choir at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco, CA; and Patrick Robell, Director of Music at Saint Joseph Cathedral, San Diego, CA.

Following the introductions, Dr. Tietze presented the financial status of the organization on behalf of Scott Eakins, Treasurer.  Crista Miller, Secretary, described the nomination and election processes for new members of the Steering Committee.  Brian Gurley, Membership Chair, discussed progress regarding ongoing efforts to involve new Cathedral musicians in CRCCM.  Over the last year, CRCCM regions were reorganized to reflect the regional organization of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Within each region, membership representatives were recruited to sustain regular communication with neighboring colleagues as well as to recruit new members.  The number of active institutional memberships has increased by over 25% in the last two years, from 90 institutions in 2017 to 115 institutions in 2019.  Marc Cerisier described ongoing efforts to modernize and automate membership initiations and renewals.  Having conducted major research into the functionality of existing software platforms, Marc has undertaken to design and build a unique software platform that will serve CRCCM safely and effectively.

Following the Business Meeting and a lunch break, conference participants returned to Saint James Cathedral for an open rehearsal of the Jubilate! Young Women’s Ensemble with Bruce Neswick.  Mr. Newsick rehearsed the ensemble on several new and familiar pieces, including Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and two pieces for treble choirs: “Happy the One Who Fears the Lord” and “The Eyes of All”, both by Richard Proulx.  Throughout the rehearsal, Mr. Neswick demonstrated rehearsal techniques that address common vocal, ensemble, or pedagogical problems.  The Jubilate! Young Women’s Ensemble is an auditioned advanced-level ensemble for young women in high school.  The ensemble is under the direction of Stacey Sunde, Director of the Youth Music Program at Saint James Cathedral.

Conference participants then gathered in the Cathedral for Mass with the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle, celebrant and homilist.  Choral music was provided by the Cathedral Choir, and repertoire included It was not you by Bern H. Herbolsheimer and There is a balm in Gilead by Carol Sams.  Mr. Adam and Mr. Libra provided service music for Mass, as well as the voluntaries, including “Prière après la communion” from Livre du Saint Sacrement and “Dieu parmi nous” from La Nativité by Olivier Messiaen.

Tuesday evening concluded with a choral concert in the Cathedral, performed by the Cathedral Choirs.  The Jubilate! Young Women’s Ensemble and John Carrington, harpist, under the direction of Ms. Sunde, performed A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten.  The Cathedral Cantorei, under the direction of Mr. Adam, performed Songs of Farewell by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.  The Cathedral Choir, also under the direction of Mr. Adam, performed Os justi by Anton Bruckner, Ave Maria by Paweł Łukaszewski, Ain’-a that Good News! by William Dawson, Bogoroditse Devo from All Night Vigil by Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Magnificat Collegium Regale by Herbert Howells.

The Cathedral Cantorei is a professional ensemble comprised of 19 of the Seattle area’s outstanding soloists and choral leaders.  They serve as the professional core of the Cathedral Choir and the Women of St. James Schola, as well as cantors, soloists, and psalmists at all sung liturgies at the cathedral.  The Cathedral Choir was founded in 1903 and remains one of the oldest choral organizations in the Seattle area.  The choir consists of over 70 voices, including auditioned volunteers and the professional core from the Cathedral Cantorei.  Both of these ensembles are under the direction of Mr. Adam.

Wednesday, January 16

On Wednesday morning, conference participants gathered for Morning Prayer at Plymouth Congregational Church.  Service music and voluntaries were performed by Mr. Libra, and organ repertoire included “Plein jeu,” “Fugue,” and “Grand jeu” from Ave maris stella by Nicholas de Grigny.

Following Morning Prayer, Diana Macalintal and Nick Wagner presented a keynote address titled, “The Cathedral as the Mother and Model for Making Disciples.”  Mr. Wagner and Ms. Macalintal identified the challenges of integrating the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) into the broader life of the parish.  Drawing from their experiences leading RCIA programs in the Diocese of San Jose, they acknowledged the inadequacy of Christian formation based solely on classroom or academic instructional models.  Mr. Wagner and Ms. Macalintal underscored the unique role of the cathedrals as “mother churches” and models for parishes in their dioceses, encouraging Faith Formation teams to expand the classroom model to allow Christian formation through the communal activities of the parish.  Through gradual participation in the Church’s ministries—as with gradual integration into the Church’s liturgy—candidates for Baptism would benefit from a holistic approach to their Christian formation.

Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal are the founders and codirectors of TeamRCIA.com, a free online resource for catechumenate ministry, which they began in 2007 from their home in San Jose, California (from cathedralministry.org).

Following the Keynote Address and a coffee break, conference participants assembled for the second of two CRCCM Business Meetings.  Dr. Miller opened the Steering Committee election process, and members nominated candidates to serve in the upcoming term.  Dr. Tietze also discussed possible locations for upcoming CRCCM gatherings.

Following the Business Meeting and a lunch break, conference participants gathered in the Saint James Cathedral Choir Room for a presentation on the Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122, of Johannes Brahms, given by Carole Terry, Professor of Organ and Harpsichord at the University of Washington.  Dr. Terry discussed in expert detail the historical context and Brahms’ personal influences which inspired him to compose the chorale preludes.  She also described the editorial work of George Bozarth, Professor Emeritus of Music History at the University of Washington and a renowned Brahms scholar, in producing the Henle Urtext edition of the organ works.  Dr. Terry discussed performance practice issues the organist must consider, including articulation, registration, phrasing, and tempo.  She has recorded the The Complete Organ Works of Johannes Brahms (based on the Henle edition) for the Musical Heritage label.

In addition to her work at the University of Washington, Dr. Terry is on the Board of Governors of The Westfield Center for Keyboard Studies, a national resource for the advancement of keyboard music, and chairs the Center's Concert Scholar Committee.  As a member of the College of Mentors at The John Ernest Foundation, her role is to promote the enrichment of young organ scholars, organ performances, and the encouragement of organ studies.  Especially known for her performances and recordings of German Romantic music, she is also an expert on the physiology of keyboard performance (music.washington.edu).

Following Dr. Terry’s presentation, conference participants remained at the Cathedral Choir Room 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.

After the reading session, conference participants gathered in the Cathedral for Mass with the Reverend Michael G. Ryan, celebrant, and the Reverend David Dwyer, CSP, homilist.  Choral music was provided by the Cathedral Choir, and repertoire included, Blessed by Herbolsheimer, Inclina Domine by Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger, and O gladsome light sung to nunc dimittis.  Mr. Adam and Mr. Libra provided service music for Mass, as well as the opening voluntary, which was “Cathédrales” from Pièces de Fantaisie, Op. 55 by Louis Vierne.

Wednesday evening concluded with an organ concert in the Cathedral, performed by Bruce Neswick.  The program consisted of two movements, “Les infants de Dieu” and “Les Mages,” from La Nativité du Seigneur by Olivier Messiaen; Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 684, by Johann Sebastian Bach; Deux Études by Lionel Rogg; Variations on Wondrous Love by David P. Dahl; Air by Gerre Hancock; Ma$HeD by Texu Kim; Sonata II by Herbert Howell; and original improvisations on submitted themes.

Mr. Neswick is Canon for Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.  A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, his teachers have included Robert Baker, David Dahl, Gerre Hancock, Margaret Irwin-Brandon, and Lionel Rogg.  Mr. Neswick was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee; and he is represented by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists.

Thursday, January 17

On Thursday morning, conference participants gathered for Morning Prayer at Plymouth Congregational Church.  Service music and voluntaries were performed by Mr. Libra, and organ repertoire included “Récit de tierce en taille” and “Basse de trompette” from Premier Livre d’Orgue by Louis Marchand.

The Thursday sessions continued with the final keynote address, “Leaving the Upper Room: How the Church Needs to Reach Out to the Millennial Generation,” delivered by the Reverend David Dwyer, CSP.  In his address, Fr. Dwyer identified the human tendency displayed in the earliest disciples, which was to retreat to the upper room in fear, rather than to embrace the missionary charism Christ would eventually give upon his first appearance and gift of the Holy Spirit.  Leaving the upper room would require faith, courage, and familiarity with the environment and its challenges; thus, Fr. Dwyer proposed various approaches to serving the “millenial” generation in particular, based on observed cultural trends related to establishing personal connections with young people so heavily formed by social media.  He also acknowledged the challenge of identifying the millenial bloc, in which current research from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop groups together young adults ages 18 to 39, whether single, married, or parents with young children, with religious backgrounds ranging from “practicing Catholic” to “none” or “unaffiliated.”  Developing a pastoral approach to serving the millennial generation, Fr. Dwyer says, requires acknowledgment of the struggles that young adults face, including intense identity exploration, instability, increased mobility, and focus on self (a combination of pejorative selfishness and genuine vocational discernment).  The task ahead, then, was “to help this generation make the connection that—in the same way that religion devoid of spirituality or transcendent experience of God is not good—so is the opposite, particularly from a Christian perspective.”  In other words, “it just does not comport that you can say, that you can have a ‘Christian sense’ or a ‘general Christian sense’ of spirituality that has nothing to do with religion, if religion is our communal experience, if religion is our accountability to one another, our responsibility to one another….”  He recommended practical steps, including, but not limited here to: seeking out the disaffiliated (as opposed to awaiting their self-initiated return); formation of new young adult leaders (e.g. Fellowship of Catholic University Students “FOCUS”); identifying mentors for the young; a broader definition of vocation; across-the-board integration of young people into life and ministries of the community; uniquely targeted programming for particular young adult demographics; and sacramental follow-up for occasional participants (e.g. parents of newly baptized children, or couples married in “destination weddings”).

Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, is a Paulist priest and director of Busted Halo Ministries, publisher of BustedHalo.com and YoungAdultMinistryInaBox.com, host of the “Sacraments 101” videos and “The Busted Halo Show” every afternoon on SiriusXM radio. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Entertainment Tonight and The Daily Show.  He worked in campus ministry at the Universities of Colorado and Texas.  Prior to ordination he directed television for MTV and Comedy Central (from cathedralministry.org).

Following the Keynote Address and a coffee break, conference participants boarded busses to Tacoma for an organ crawl to Christ Episcopal Church, Pacific Lutheran University, and the organ building shops of Martin Pasi (Pasi Organ Builders, Inc.) and Paul Fritts (Paul Fritts & Company Organ Builders).  At Christ Church, Dr. Mark Brombaugh, who is Co-Director of Music Ministries, welcomed the conference participants and demonstrated the 2-manual, 31-rank pipe organ built in 1979 and enlarged in 1989 by his brother, John, of John Brombaugh & Associates Organ Builders.  Conference participants also enjoyed open bench time before visiting Pacific Lutheran University.  At Pacific Lutheran University, Dr. Paul Tegels, University Organist and Associate Professor of Organ, welcomed participants and demonstrated the 1998 3-manual, 54-rank pipe organ of Paul Fritts & Company.  The organ was built through the generosity of many donors, especially the Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation, and it resides in the Lagerquist Concert Hall of the Mary Baker Russell Music Center.

The Thursday itinerary continued with visits to the organ building workshops of Martin Pasi and Paul Fritts.  Mr. Pasi welcomed participants to his workshop and described his early work with the Rieger Organ Company in his native Austria, as well as several recent and current projects.  At the Paul Fritts & Company workshop, Mr. Bruce Shull welcomed participants and likewise described recent and current company projects, as well as recent adjustments they have made to pipe casting techniques.  Following this visit, conference participants boarded busses and returned to the conference hotel in Seattle.

Thursday evening, conference participants enjoyed an elegant closing banquet at the Renaissance Hotel.  Well-deserved appreciation was extended to Joseph Adam, Samuel Libra, the Cathedral’s administrative staff, sponsors, and the CRCCM Steering Committee for organizing such a successful and enjoyable gathering.

The 2020 meeting of the CRCCM will take place in Oakland, CA, hosted by the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

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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