Music at Nativity Cathedral is intentionally diverse with many opportunities for being involved with music-making. There are also many ways to experience, listen to, and absorb great music of the Church.
The Cathedral Choir rehearses weekly on Wednesday evenings 7-9 p.m. September through May to prepare and sing significant choral literature, much of it drawn from the rich Anglican tradition. This represents music that upholds and strengthens the great Liturgies of the Cathedral and Diocese throughout the year, and includes music that is ancient, recently composed, or somewhere in between. Singers, mostly volunteer and skilled musicians, come from varied life journeys. They devote a number of hours learning many, many notes, and as with all dedicated musicians, members of the choir enjoy being challenged to improve their singing skills so the music always sounds its very best. If you are interested in singing with this choir, please contact Stephen Williams (610-865-0727 x303) or send along an email to set up an audition or make a date to observe a rehearsal or two.
Services of Choral Evensong are held during the church year, and always highlight significant music sung by the Cathedral Choir. Consult the church calendar for information about these beautiful evening liturgies, and, if interested in singing with the choir, contact the Director of Music directly.
For “321 Contact Worship” services of Holy Eucharist, there are Worship Ensembles that include many gifted vocalists and instrumentalists from the congregation. Pianists, guitarists, flutists, oboists, trumpeters and trombonists, and a variety of vocalists of all ages have found their way into this musical offering and experience. Those interested in participating are asked to contact the Church Office, Music Office, or contact Becky Berkenstock or Mary Mulder directly.
The Cathedral Girls’ Choir is an ensemble of beautifully gifted and skilled teen girls who rehearse and sing on a flexible schedule, and often sing for festive seasons or occasions. Another occasional ensemble is the Hand-Chime Choir. Those interested in participating with these groups are encouraged to contact the Church Office, Music Office or Director of Music Ministries.
Musical events that seem to have become annual at the Cathedral include a “Sing-along” performance of Handel’s Messiah. This is usually scheduled for the Sunday evening before Christmas, but those interested in attending (and singing!) should consult the Cathedral Arts calendar or call the church office to confirm the date. Beautiful services of Lessons and Carols for both Advent and Christmas are offered during the weeks prior to Christmas (see below for specific dates and times).
Cathedral Arts is a series of musical offerings during the year that intentionally highlight fine artists or ensembles in a concert setting. Please mark your calendar, and try to attend these wonderful offerings. Upcoming musical events are:
Friday, February 17, 8 pm (originally scheduled for 2/10, was postponed because of weather)
All Bach program #10 in a series of complete works. G Major Prelude and Fugue, ‘Dorian’ Toccata and Fugue, chorales from the Neumeister collection and Orgelbüchlein, Trio No. 4 in E minor.
Sunday, February 19, 5 pm
Choral Evensong – Responses and Canticles by Thomas Morley (16th cen.)
Spaghetti Supper & Talent Show following – benefits Summer Youth Camp
Friday, February 24, 8 pm
All Bach program #11 in a series of complete works. Eight “Little” Preludes and Fugues, Clavierübung Part III – Pedaliter.
Sunday, March 5, 5 pm
Choral Evensong – the First Sunday in Lent – Cathedral Choir
Friday, March 10, 8 pm
All Bach program #12 in a series of complete works. Concerto in C (Ernst), D minor “Fiddle” Prelude and Fugue, Partita “Sei gegrüsset,” Neumeister and Leipzig chorales, Little Harmonic Labyrinth.
Friday, March 24, 8 pm
All Bach program #13 in a series of complete works. E minor ‘Cathedral,’ C Major Preludes and Fugues, Neumeister chorales, Aria in F (Couperin), Pedal-Exercitium, Clavierübung III – manualiter.
Friday, April 7, 8 pm
All Bach program #14 in a series of complete works. C Major Toccata, Adagio, & Fugue, G minor Prelude and Fugue, Leipzig Chorales and Orgelbüchlein, Te Deum.
Friday, April 21, 8 pm
All Bach program #15 in a series of complete works. ‘Legrenzi Fugue,’ ‘Corelli Fugue,’ Neumeister and Leipzig Chorales, Trio No. 5 in C, Clavierübung III – manualiter, Fugue in G ‘a la gigue.’
Sunday, April 30, 3 pm
The Borealis Wind Quintet Sponsored by the Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem
Tickets at available at the door, $27, or in advance online at www.cmsob.org
Friday, May 5, 8 pm
All Bach program #16 in a series of complete works. Concerto in D minor (Vivaldi), Pastorale in F, Kirnberger and Orgelbüchlein chorales, E minor ‘Wedge’ Prelude and Fugue.
Sunday, May 14, 4 pm
Spring Concert – Cathedral Choirs – favorite anthems from the past year.
Friday, May 26, 8 pm
All Bach program #17 in a series of complete works. Concerto in G (Ernst), Kirnberger chorales, Clavierübung III – Four Duetti, Partita “O Gott, du frommer Gott,” A minor Prelude with Fugue.
Friday, June 2, 8 pm
All Bach program #18 in a series of complete works. C Major “9/8” Prelude and Fugue, Kirnberger chorales, Canonic Variations Vom himmel hoch, Trio No. 6 in G, Passacaglia in C.
Friday, June 16, 8 pm
All Bach program #19 in a series of complete works will feature all transcriptions for organ by mostly other composers or organists that have become favorites of the repertoire. Enjoyable program even for those who might not care much for Bach’s music.
Stephen Williams is Director of Music Ministries and Organist and is enthusiastic about helping grow a ministry of music that is inviting and inclusive of this congregation’s many gifts of music and the arts. Formal study includes Brevard College, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, The Juilliard School, and West Chester University. He works to expand and incorporate a variety of fine music and musicians into our liturgies, and continues to build upon the tradition of the Cathedral Arts as a ministry inside and outside our community. His door and mind is always open to thoughtful opinions and ideas, so please feel free to discuss with him anything to do with music at the Cathedral and beyond.
The cathedral possesses a magnificent organ built by the Austin Organ Company in 1998, and is designed to accompany the Anglican liturgy and ably perform the major schools of organ literature. It was dedicated on January 10, 1999.
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