Organ Manuals

Choir and Schola

Cathedral ChoirAbout the Cathedral Choir

The role of choirs in sacred settings has historically been recognized by the Catholic Church as one of its greatest treasures, particularly in its Cathedrals. With an ancestry dating back to medieval times, it was the music of the church that was a driving artistic force in early periods, and it was church musicians that standardized many concepts of music theory that are still in use to this day. With this in mind, the Church has mandated that “the treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care.”

The modern role of choirs in the Catholic Church is to augment the singing of the assembly, to lead the people in sung prayer and to enhance that song with the addition of musical elaboration. The music of a well-trained choir performing alone adds a beauty and depth of solemnity to the worship experience, enabling those in attendance to reflect more deeply.

The Cathedral Choir has fully embraced this role, and in addition to fostering the church’s heritage of polyphonic music, has also undertaken the mission of restoring the use of chant and choral mass settings to liturgies, helping to ensure that these practices are not lost to time.

The Saint Joseph Cathedral Choir is composed of approximately 30 professional and volunteer singers from throughout the Metropolitan Columbus area and beyond. The Cathedral Choir provides music for the 10:30 a.m. Solemn Mass each Sunday from September through June. The Choir also maintains a rigorous schedule of pontifical celebrations, diocesan liturgies, and concerts. The choir has twice performed for the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians. The choir’s reputation for musical excellence has earned it invitations for concerts at the cathedrals of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, and to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame. The Choir has also been featured on “With Heart and Voice,” a nationally syndicated radio program that features the organ and choral music of many of the world’s most famous choirs and organists. While Renaissance polyphony forms the core of its repertoire, the Cathedral Choir has received accolades for its performances of romantic and twentieth century pieces, as well. The choir’s repertoire of Byrd, Palestrina, and Tallis is balanced by music of Herbert Howells, Maurice Duruflé, Frank Martin, and Pierre Villette. Reviewing the Choir’s 2004 performance of Frank Martin’s Messe, the Columbus Dispatch hailed the Choir for its “purity of tone, careful attention to intonation and dynamics, and sensitivity to the text.” Sacred Music Magazine applauded lauded the choir for its “enviable blend, balance and faultless intonation.”

Cathedral ScholaThe Cathedral Schola

The members of the Cathedral Schola are drawn from the Cathedral Choir and specialize in the interpretation of early music. The Cathedral Schola also maintains a rigorous schedule of liturgical performances at Saint Joseph Cathedral and throughout the Diocese of Columbus.