TRINITĂ‰ The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris
The way we sang Bringing the Cathedral home The Doyenne of the Riddle era Auvergneâ€™s Episcopal church
Imagining the future: Revitalizing Cathedral spaces
he Cathedral’s 2005 Strategic Plan identified a need to “optimize and reimagine the Cathedral’s finite space notably by finding fresh ways to use the historic buildings for all who worship, visit, work and live here.” Acting on this need, an architectural study group was formed the next year to select a firm of professionals who could survey the current building and evaluate its conformity to safety and systems codes, and help envisage new space. The vestry affirmed the study group’s recommendation of Berthier Architectes, a French firm with international experience and expertise in working on historic buildings, and commissioned it to begin work last summer. It was a long-awaited moment when Berthier delivered to the vestry its engineering audit of the state of repair of the Cathedral and some exciting proposals for how our buildings could better accommodate the needs of the parish and not just for the short term. The vestry spent most of its time at its annual retreat this March discussing and dreaming about the many changes we might make and how these might better support our community’s mission and service. Since the building changes will require a considerable expenditure, one that can only be raised through a special capital campaign, the vestry has engaged a fundraising consultant firm, CCS, to help us determine which aspects of the architect’s recommendations are supported by the Cathedral community and how much financial support we can expect for the project. CCS has offices in Europe and the U.S., facilitating contact with parishioners and Friends, and comes highly recommended by churches we know and trust. Parishioners and Friends will have a chance to contribute to this process by reflecting on the Cathedral’s role as a community of faith in Paris, to think about all aspects of our church life today and what we would like it to be tomorrow, and how the building helps or hinders us in achieving our vision and goals. These reflections are an important element of our planning for the way forward. The CCS team will be collecting advice and opinions from a sample of parishioners and Friends via personal interviews, on-line and direct mail surveys and in focus groups and we hope you will participate if called on. We will periodically report on the results of these activities to keep you informed of our progress. If you would like to share your thoughts with CCS or if you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact one of us. Zachary Fleetwood, Dean: email@example.com Peter Fellowes, Senior Warden: firstname.lastname@example.org Nancy Janin, Development Committee Chair: email@example.com
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Spring 2008 The American Cathedral in Paris 23 avenue George V 75008 Paris, France Tel: +33 (0)1 53 23 84 00 www.americancathedral.org Dean The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood Canon Pastor The Reverend Jonathan Huyck Deacon The Reverend Joanne Coyle Dauphin Canon Precentor, Organist and Choirmaster Edward Tipton Assistant Musician Christopher Houlihan
Trinité The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris Editors Nancy Janin Charles Trueheart Graphic Design Dianne Henning Advertising Matthew Leum Cover Vintage Photo, Choir circa 1920s, photographer unknown; Choir today (March 2008), Kristen Ketron, photographer Please send comments and requests for free subscriptions to: Trinité: The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris 23 avenue George V 75008 Paris, France Or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elisabeth Riddle, left, at a Cathedral soirée around 1960. Amory Houghton, the U.S. Ambassador to France, is at far right
In the Deanery after the war Elisabeth Riddle remembers a ‘second Belle Epoque’
he Duke and Duchess of Windsor … Billy Graham … Elizabeth Taylor … Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower … Olivia de Havilland … Charles de Gaulle … John and Jacqueline Kennedy … Jean MacArthur … Bernard Berenson…... Elisabeth Riddle remembers meeting and knowing them all during her nearly three decades of living in Europe. As the wife of The Very Reverend Sturgis Lee Riddle, Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris from 1949 to 1974, she
led a life of glamour and gaiety reminiscent of that era, and thoroughly enjoyed it. But in a recent interview with Trinité, Betty Riddle also recalled her witness to the great suffering and destruction that greeted their arrival on a continent lumbering to its feet after a long and depressing war. Sturgis was the young rector and Elisabeth Pope Sloan a parishioner when they met at the Caroline Church on Long Island, New York. They were soon after married there, in 1939. Before too long Sturgis took a post at Saint Thomas Church in TRINITÉ ~ Spring 2008
Manhattan (where Betty is still a parishioner, and from which Dean Riddle was buried) and settled into a happy life as a young couple in the city. Fulfilling Sturgis’s childhood dream of living in Europe, the wider church called them in 1947, but not to the Europe he had idealized from John Stoddard’s “Lectures” and other books in his parents’ library. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Episcopal Church found its churches in Europe in various states of disrepair and worse. Bishop Blair Larned, Suffragan 3
Bishop of Long Island, was called to be the Bishop-in-Charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, and he thought his friend Sturgis Riddle was just the man to reopen Saint James in Florence (and Betty just the woman). Italy’s Fascist leader Benito Mussolini had closed St. James during the war, turning the sanctuary and rectory into a magnet for looters and vandals. The Riddles were a spirited young couple, and jumped at the chance to take part in the rebuilding of the church in Europe even if it meant leaving New York City and their friends and family. Without knowing what they would find, they set off for Florence in 1947, traveling through Paris and Milan, seeing graveyards and ruins all along the way. “We were appalled by what we found, when we arrived,” she recalls. “The rectory was uninhabitable.” The Grand Hotel was to be
their home for six months while repairs were made. She still holds dear the outpouring of gratitude and affection from Italians who spontaneously approached them (and other Americans) on the street to thank them for saving them. “I never felt more loved,” she says. After two years, St. James was operational and financially stable, and the Riddles took up another challenge – the American Cathedral in Paris. Commandeered by the German military authorities in Occupied Paris, the Cathedral had been returned to the Episcopal Church in reasonably good shape. A German clergyman, the former pastor of Potsdam Cathedral, had been put in charge and had wheedled funds from the Nazi bureaucracy for the upkeep of the church – including the installation of a new heating system, ironically making the American Cathedral one of the most comfortable places in town. Betty and Sturgis Riddle in the 1970s
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“Bombing had blown off some roof tiles but overall the Cathedral was fine,” Betty Riddle recalled over lunch at the Colony Club in New York recently. “Paris, however, was not. The buildings were damaged. People were poor and living in squalid conditions. Food was still in short supply. The Ritz had only cornbread – no baguettes!” Slowly Paris came back to itself. The dollar was strong, the French loved Americans, rationing was lifted, and soon the city was filled with the forerunners of today’s jet-setters, businessmen and their families arriving to open new U.S. companies, and tourists. The Riddles set off to meet these new arrivals and to welcome them to the American Cathedral. They had brought an Italian couple with them from Florence and for four to five days a week Luigi became their chauffeur for afternoon trips through Paris and
the suburbs. The parish secretary, Mme Irina Romanov (who was a Grand Duchess in private life) set up calls, back to back, and the Riddles took tea with up to five families in a day. “We got very tired of tea,” said Betty, “but not of meeting all the new people.” The ranks of the parish soon filled out with this new generation of American expatriates, many of them military, diplomatic families, leading Dean Riddle to call Paris “Washington on the Seine.” The Riddles, both bon vivants, were swept up in an exploding social world.
historian Bernard Berenson, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and many U.S. ambassadors. Dean Riddle describes in his “Memories of a Foreign Ministry” a dinner party with the Duke and Duchess: “They didn’t arrive promptly so I stepped outside to have a look and found them wandering around, lost in the garden. ‘Sorry, Mr. Dean, we’re late,’ the Duchess exclaimed, ‘but you see we’ve never before had dinner in a Cathedral!’”
Life as the Dean’s wife had many advantages and Betty enjoyed them all. She had prevailed over the many Parisian hostesses who had tried to hire away Thèrese Auverauth, the famous Belgian cook who – another story – once worked for parishioner Margaret Benedict, who gave her name to Eggs Benedict. So dinner parties for 14 at the Deanery were routine, even effortless for Betty, “and I knew my guests would be delighted with the food.”
These years included a visit from President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, who stopped to worship at the Cathedral. Betty Riddle recalls the visit for a particular reason: Secret Service men were strategically placed all over the Cathedral, including the roof. In the Deanery, readying herself for the morning service by soaking in the tub, the Dean’s wife looked up to see two “quite handsome” young men standing on the rooftop just opposite. “Getting out of the bath was a challenge,” she remembers with a laugh.
The Cathedral was revered by the French community as a symbol of the best of America; thus the Riddles were wined and dined by French aristocrats and leaders, and famous Americans passing through town regularly called on them. Open and fun, they made personal friends of people of all walks of life, including the famous – such as actress Olivia de Havilland, art
Much of her life was that of any priest’s spouse, although Mrs. Riddle remembers with gratitude that she never felt pressure to take on any particular role. She did what she felt comfortable doing, she says, and it all seemed to work. With the incoming families there were baptisms, confirmations, a growing Sunday School. There were many chances for friendship
Thèrese Auverauth, May 1972, with Gigi and Moustache with the new arrivals. Inevitably there were also tragic deaths and difficult times for parishioners; Dean Riddle was a pastor to many who were far from their extended families. The couple also treasured their deep friendships with many parishioners; many of those who knew the Riddles still worship at the Cathedral. However in some ways the Riddle era at the Cathedral seems long ago. The Junior Guild used to serve formally, in starched aprons, at meetings of the Men’s Club, and continued the work it had begun in the 1920s of support for Russian immigrants and other displaced persons. Their elegant black-tie dinners and balls were hosted by luminaries such as Princess Grace of Monaco and Elizabeth Taylor, and Edith Piaf was the featured entertainer at the 1955 Valentine Ball. Dean Riddle called his tenure the “deuxième belle époque” and it is easy to see why. Memories of Paris on the Riddle apartment wall
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Betty remembers seeing De Gaulle on several occasions and finding him stiff and stern. But her view softened in 1961, at the famous lunch during the visit of President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, when the president publicly introduced himself as “the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” Betty was amazed to watch De Gaulle, when seated next to Mrs. Kennedy, transformed into a smiling, witty, attentive dinner partner. In chilly times and warm ones, French gratitude towards the United States was on display every year on Memorial Day. The Cathedral, which had been named in 1923 as the official memorial cloister for U.S. armed forces, held a solemn service attended by French and U.S. military and political leaders and ambassadors of many countries. After the service the dignitaries left the Cathedral, flags hoisted, and slowly walked up Avenue George V and the
Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Later in the day the Dean would visit military cemeteries to pay his respects. Americans were openly proud of their country, too, and in those days the national anthem was sung each Sunday at the service. But in the late 60s and early 70s being an American in Paris lost its cachet, and American institutions here became lighting rods for the anger over the U.S. war in Vietnam. This came home to the Cathedral one day as Betty set out to walk Gigi and Moustache, her poodles, and encountered a mob coming up the avenue. Vice President Hubert Humphrey was in Paris that week, and the protesters were on their way to demonstrate. When one of them saw the American flag hanging over the steps to the narthex, several young men managed to climb up and pull it down to the street, where they started to burn the flag. Betty was furious. “I ran out, screaming at them to stop.” The incident was widely covered by the press, including a German newspaper that reported that “Madame La Pasteur” had been most bothered because it was a new flag. “This, of course, was not the reason for my objection.” Bizarrely, that night Betty says she saw a young man in the Cathedral garden and recognized him as one of the protesters. He was a young American, and he had returned, curious about the building with the flag. Betty remembers giving him a stern lecture about respect for his country. She told him: “Your mother would die if she knew what you did.” The story is cherished by all who knew Betty Riddle here. In 1974, after a quarter-century in Paris, the Riddles decided it was time to return to New York. Sturgis was 65 years old, they had been away for a long time, and they
The New York Times, International Edition, April 8-9, 1967
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Photo: Nancy Treuhold
In 1966 the American community was shaken by French President Charles de Gaulle’s withdrawal from NATO, a decision that drove many Cathedral families to Belgium, where NATO moved, or back to the United States. (Departing parishioners, however, made massive donations to the Junior Guild – “We had some of our best rummage sales ever!”)
Betty Riddle in her home in New York, February 2008 wanted to get home while they were still young enough to enjoy themselves. And they did. Betty reports that Sturgis had no trouble retiring – he took occasional interim clergy positions – but they had plenty of ideas for pleasant and productive ways to spend their time. Friends and family, as before, were most important and they continued to travel and see people regularly. Their dedication to the Cathedral never flagged – annually they cleared their Fifth Avenue apartment living room to make space to welcome Friends of the American Cathedral for a festive reunion. In 1959, the tenth anniversary of their arrival at the Cathedral, Dean Riddle wrote the congregation “We came to you October 23, 1949 and have lived happily ever after.” “It was a wonderful, glorious period in our lives,” Betty echoed recently. A special time, and a very special couple who left their mark on the churches and communities they served. Nancy Janin
After the goodbyes, the memories The Cathedral ‘alumni,’ a diverse family, discuss their readjustment to life after leaving Paris
he opening sentence of L.P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between declares what all Cathedral alumni know to be true: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
In an area where their church shopping options are limited, people seek a community to lift them up and help them cope. They find it, often, at the Cathedral. David
Leaving Paris amid a flurry of farewell parties, Cathedral departees approach their new surroundings a little bit like Lot’s wife – looking back. Time passes, and the past seems perfect. The frustrations of la vie quotidienne in a foreign city magically disappear; so do memories of the internal squabbles common to all parish churches. The Cathedral (and Paris) seem positively Utopian. Yet if “repaMemories of Sunday School at the Cathedral triates” can peel away the sentimental lacquer overlaying the experience – and this is hard Ignatius, who lived in Paris from 2000 to work – they can begin to understand what 2004 when he was Executive Editor of the the Cathedral meant in their lives, what it International Herald Tribune, remembers taught them, and how they can apply these that he and his wife and daughters “loved insights to the present. the combination of grandeur and intimacy at the Cathedral, and we learned as a family Foreigners arrive in Paris with complex how to embrace a new culture. The Cathesets of needs and expectations. Some are dral was a regular Sunday anchor for us – a students away from home for the first time; place to make and meet friends, a place to others are people who have the means and share experiences. Frankly, I miss it almost time to absorb and appreciate Paris. Some every Sunday.” are transferred professionals with trailing Barbie Kimberly, a veteran of three tours spouses and petulant teenagers whose lives at the Cathedral over 25 years, remembers, have been disrupted at a vulnerable time. “No matter how much we loved France and Others are brought there by bi-cultural our French friends, we needed to be part of love and marriage. In better moments, they an American community both spiritually feel liberated to fly; in worse ones they are and socially. Yet the Cathedral was amaztrapped in the Slough of Despond. ingly diverse, with people from many parts of the U.S. and many nationalities.”
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When Gail and Doug Worth first arrived in the 70s, Doug recalls, “We decided to try the Cathedral, despite its imposing aura. Dean Sturgis Riddle breezed into coffee hour, chatting up each of the newcomers, and invited us up to the Deanery later for cocktails. We knew this was our kind of church!” Others use the words solace, sanctuary, hospitality, tolerance, support, family, encouragement, nourishment, and acceptance. Bishop Jeffery Rowthorn nails it as “a feeling of coming home.” Or, as Doug Worth recalls it, “For six years, the Cathedral hugged our family.” In times of transition, families find the Cathedral to be a stabilizing, unifying influence. Cathy O’Donnell, who arrived in Paris a decade ago, found the youth program to be lifesaving. Pastoral Assistant Bridget Riley, Cathy recalls, “helped our son adjust to his new circumstances, to stop complaining about his life, and to take measures to change it. Meeting her was the best thing that ever happened to our family,” she says. Miia Suokonautio, another former pastoral assistant (2000-2002), discovered her calling at the Cathedral: “working with youth and making interesting, relevant, and dynamic ways for them to be active.” She says “the Cathedral, where I had so many life-changing, challenging conversations, was instrumental in providing me the leeway, support, and generosity to envision and implement a youth program that resonated with my passions.” 7
Bicultural marriage remains an important Cathedral constituency, and not by accident. Couples benefit from intelligent, non-judgmental pre-marital counseling that addresses the issues they may encounter. Describing this counseling as “the best wedding gift I got,” Olivia Bridges Ortiz comments, “Because we were made aware that cultural misunderstandings and different cultural values were normal, we were able to talk about it rather than panic.” A Paris resident from 1992 to 1998, she also admits to having been a little overwhelmed by the prospect of motherhood in a foreign country. “I found wonderful support both spiritually and emotionally, particularly from St. Anne’s Guild meetings, where I found very kind and intelligent women who understood what I was going through. As I was far from home, the Cathedral – particularly through the kindness of Dean Ernie Hunt and his wife Elsie – became ‘my side’ of the family.” One way newcomers cope with change is through volunteer work. According to Cathy O’Donnell, “Being able to volunteer there helped me feel right at home. It gave my life a sense of ordinary continuation in an otherwise foreign setting.” She adds, “I found it much easier to make friends at the
Cathedral, maybe because most of us were in the same boat, facing the same problems adjusting to new surroundings. Fortunately, there were the ‘old’ members of the congregation who were willing to share their wisdom with the ‘new’ ones.” Often, these volunteer activities have permanent consequences. Her years at the Cathedral in the 80s and 90s made Polly Hodgins “feel called to commit myself to periods of service for the larger Church... Through the Reverend Nicholas Porter, I learned to love early Christian history, particularly as manifest in the early Orthodox churches.” Then, as now, she helps Porter, a former Canon Pastor at the Cathedral, organize pilgrimages to Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She also volunteers in Jordan at the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf, a ministry of the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Spiritually, many new parishioners may have fallen away from their childhood churchgoing patterns when they choose the Cathedral, only to become reinvolved in the church and spiritually renewed. “The American Cathedral was at the very center of my life in Paris” in the last year of the 20th century, Katherine Bierlein observes. “As an American student in the
Miia Suokonautio preparing first Communion bread with Cathedral youth, 2002. vast University of Paris system, renting my own apartment for the first time anywhere, the Cathedral provided me with a familiar home in the midst of a strange – if wonderful – city.” Her spiritual life was regenerated through Bible study and a pilgrimage to Taizé. Returning home, she went on to become a student minister in her university’s chapel. Sally Arbuthnot, who for years headed the Friends organization in the U.S. after her return and who attended the Cathedral in the late 70s and the mid-90s, remembers that “With relatives and old friends an ocean away, the Cathedral became an extended family, and reconnected me to the Episcopal Church. My church family has been an important part of my life ever since. Thanks to the Cathedral experience I have been an involved member of my parish wherever we have lived.” Katie Lasseron, who lived in Paris in the 80s and 90s, concurs: “My experience at the Cathedral replicated my experience of church as a child and young teenager, that of church as a community or family.” She adds, “I grew up at the Cathedral – perhaps not physically but certainly spiritually. All that I learned in Sunday school hadn’t sunk in … But it all began to make sense at the
In the Dean’s Garden, a summer parish party
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Cathedral. We had our ‘petty’ arguments, but we were a community and took care of each other.” During those years, Katie says, “I felt called to model the welcome, inclusiveness and hospitality I experienced there (the hospitality that Jesus teaches) and did so as best I could, inviting ‘poor students and musicians’ over for dinner on a regular basis.” Additionally, she notes, “My later years at the Cathedral were important for my formation as a lay person in the Episcopal church. I didn’t necessarily recognize it as such when I was there, but since then I have realized that the seeds were planted then and there.” Katie now works as Assistant to the Dean at the Virginia Theological Seminary. The American Cathedral, for Pamela Christian, “is the place where I first opened my ears to hear God’s voice, and it was so powerful. I can say that I have never felt that level of intensity in another church.” Olivia Ortiz Bridges adds, “I came to realize that spirituality is like love; it must be shared freely and without judgment or requirements attached in order to be true. The Cathedral understands this.” What of the afterglow of the City of Light? Cathedral parishioners moving on have the same uncertain feelings they had upon arrival. They have changed, and so have their expectations not only of food, but of churches. “My Cathedral experience was important to me in defining what I wanted when I returned home” (in 2000), says Lee McBride. “I chose a church that has a beautiful liturgy, outstanding music (á la Ned Tipton), and a closely knit community that is interesting, educated, and well-traveled. All these characteristics remind me of the Cathedral.” The new or refound church at home can suffer by comparison to the Cathedral. Sometimes, parish life in the United States feels “dull” after the exciting multi-lingual, multi-national mix of the Cathedral – plus Olivia de Havilland isn’t reading the scriptures. Olivia van Melle Kamp (a parishioner from 1993 to 2000) comments: “Because I couldn’t work in Paris, I felt I wanted to ‘give back’ something through the Cathe-
dral, and had the time to do it… Ingenuity, initiative and participation are valued and encouraged there. Later, in the United States, I found that parishes can be more ‘set in their ways’ and resolutely stratified. I found this disheartening, and have subsequently not become involved (as yet).” Turning inward as a counter-reaction to much involvement is not uncommon. According to Pamela Christian, “I was so busy with Vestry and all of its activities that I did not explore my renewed spiritual awakening. It wasn’t until we left that I truly started to delve into my faith. I did not volunteer at the new church, but attended classes, graduating from the EFM program. I am clearly further down the spiritual path, but less connected to my church.” She says, “The close Cathedral community was wonderful for my family, and it was the center of my kids’ social life. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just don’t have the same feeling or connectedness now that I did then. I miss it.” Miia Suokaunautio notes, “In the past few years, I’ve wanted to not be ‘involved’ in the church, finding instead a longing for closeness and intimacy without having to be responsible for the day to day work of the congregation. I long for an experience of holiness that can come not only from the church but also from transcendent moments in daily living.” She finds that now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she works for a non-profit agency for youths who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. Stanhope and Libby Browne, Philadelphians who lived in Paris from 1999 to 2002, accurately describe the feelings of most Cathedral alumni: “When we look at the rich tapestry of our lives, only one institution can inspire such loyalty after one has moved away from it. It always seems to stand out above all the rest, and not just because of its high spire.” No amount of Frequent Flyer mileage will let us time-travel to the past. In reality, some people would like to, and some wouldn’t. Some are happier in the here and now, others have never gotten over the Paris experience. Whatever our emotions, an unvarnished look back can help us see clearly what life lessons the Cathedral taught us. As so many who contributed to TRINITÉ ~ Spring 2008
this article have done, we can then replicate in our own lives and attitudes its positive lessons of hospitality, tolerance, caring and support for others, to name but a few. Then the past will not be such a foreign country. Karen Lamb
The author wishes to acknowledge with gratitude all those who contributed to this article: Sally Arbuthnot, Lusby, Maryland; Katherine Bierlein, Washington; D.C.; Stanhope and Libby Browne, Philadelphia; Pennsylvania; Pamela Christian, Denver; Colorado; Ben Davis, Toledo, Ohio; Polly Hodgins, Bakersfield, California; The Very Reverend Ernest E. Hunt III and Elsie Hunt, Dallas; Texas; David Ignatius, Washington; D.C.; Barbie Kimberly, Philadelphia; Pennsylvania; Katie Lasseron, Washington; D.C.; Norman Leinster, Kuwait City, Kuwait; Lee McBride, Chevy Chase, Maryland; Alexandra Melby, Washington; D.C.; Cathy O’Donnell, Zurich, Switzerland; Olivia Bridges Ortiz, Larchmont, New York; The Right Reverend Bishop Jeffery Rowthorn and Anne Rowthorn, Salem, Connecticut; Miia Suokonautio, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Olivia van Melle Kamp, Millbrook, New York; Craig Whitney, Brooklyn, New York; John Wiecking, Washington; D.C.; Doug and Gail Worth, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Sunshine for Bulgaria How the parish reaches out
hose of us living in France are always pleased to be told we have bonne mine. Usually translated as “looking well,” the phrase conveys vitality, health, serenity, and energy – qualities that Dominique Bayard, president of Bonne Mine, works tirelessly to bring to abandoned and orphaned children in Bulgaria. In 2000 Madame Bayard was moved by a report she heard, from a priest who had recently returned from Bulgaria, about the plight of children there. After going there to see for herself, she decided to leave her career as a summer camp coordinator, and dedicate herself to bringing “sunshine into the lives of abandoned children of Bulgaria,” the slogan of the association. Sunshine, in the form of food, clothing, bedding,
desks, sports, cultural activities, education, has been streaming down ever since. Working in partnership with the Bulgarian government, Bonne Mine is now delivering aid to sixteen institutions to supplement the daily 50 Euro cents budgeted by the state for each child. As important as improving the quality of life and preparing the children for the future through education and vocational training, Madame Bayard aims to give each child the love and emotional connections that they lack from family. Her own abundant love and concern is supplemented with scores of teen-aged summer interns from France and Belgium, many of whom continue their friendships with Bonne Mine children after their visit through email exchanges. The association is an inspiring example of hands-on ministry. It has no paid staff and operates out of Madame Bayard’s home in Neuilly; virtually every cent of donations goes directly to the children, and every expense is carefully reviewed and controlled to be sure the orphanages get the most for the money destined for them. The Cathedral Mission and Outreach group, which is charged with distributing the Cathedral’s tithe of its plate and pledge income (€37,000 in 2008), became aware of the work of Bonne Mine in 2004. Identifying it as a worthy cause and well-man-
aged charity, the Cathedral first awarded Bonne Mine a €550 grant for schoolbooks. Since then funds have been given for more books, to help in the purchase of a bus, to buy sewing machines for vocational training, and to hire a social worker to advise and supervise the 18 year-old “graduates” as they move from the orphanage into the normal world. In addition hundreds of Bonne Mine children receive a Christmas gift every year through the Love in a Box project (see Trinité Fall, 2007). The Junior Guild, a non-profit charitable organization associated for nearly 90 years with the Cathedral, has chosen Bonne Mine as the recipient for several donations. The Guild has focused on one orphanage, buying mattresses, shoes and beds for some unexpected new arrivals, and paying for a heater and electricity when otherwise there would have been no heat. The Guild also sends small gifts so that each child’s birthday can be celebrated. A very worthy cause and a very well-run charity – the Cathedral is proud to support Bonne Mine. Anyone wishing to donate individually can send a check in euros to Bonne Mine at 50 avenue du Roule, 92200 Neuilly sur Seine or contact Bonne Mine at email@example.com for their banking coordinates to effect a transfer. Their website, in French, is www.bonnemine.asso.fr.
Dominique Bayard and some of her Bulgarian friends
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Bishop-in-Charge Pierre Whalon greeting parishioners with Father Luk DeVolder
Under the volcano, a parish is born The making of a mission church in the Auvergne
hat could be simpler than to tell the story of the church community that I love? As I thought about it, the 60s Christian folk tune “Pass It On,” by Ray Repp, kept popping into my head. It only takes a spark to get a fire going… Clermont-Ferrand, in volcano country at the heart of the Auvergne, is the world headquarters of Michelin Tire Company. In 1995 it became home to Blake and Nadine Redding, active parishioners of the Cathedral in Paris. Wanting their children
to continue being brought up as Episcopalians, they joined with a small group of Michelin employees expatriated from the United States – many from South Carolina – to explore the idea of starting an Englishlanguage, Episcopal worship service. They found several American and British families living in the Auvergne who were also looking for a church to call their own. Jeffery Rowthorn, Bishop-in-Charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, was contacted for advice and help. With his strong support, the first service TRINITÉ ~ Spring 2008
of what would become Christ Church was held in front of the fireplace at the Reddings’ home on May 29, 1996. Five families were in attendance, and Bishop Rowthorn officiated. In order to move the small worship group towards becoming a real church, and in order not to limit the number of worshipers, a search began for a dedicated worship space. The leaders of the small congregation knocked on the doors of the Eglise Reformée in Clermont-Ferrand upon the advice of a local contact. The 11
from a variety of Christian denominations. Everyone has an idea of how worship should be held, what it means to worship, how we pray, and how we relate. In spite of these differences, here in the Auvergne, these individual perspectives are laid aside in favor of a communal worship experience.
The growing congregation... Eglise Reformée had a chapel in the spa town of Royat, five kilometers from the center of Clermont-Ferrand. The building had once served an earlier generation of English-speaking expatriates, and was only used by the Eglise Reformée in the summer months, so the new congregation was invited to use the chapel. The next step was securing the services of a priest, and the Reverend Joe Britton, Paris-based Canon Missioner of the Convocation, agreed to come to ClermontFerrand every other week for a short period of time. He would board a train in Paris in the morning, have lunch with some
of the congregants in the afternoon, lead services at 5:00 p.m., and take the fourhour train back to Paris Sunday evening. Father Joe remained faithful to this “shortterm” arrangement for six years, until the end of 2002. The parishioners grew into a connected and caring community with all-parish lunches, Thanksgiving dinners, fund-raising fashion shows, and the like. And soon all those around, can warm up to its glowing… During that period, news began to spread about the availability of Englishspeaking worship services. The expatriate community in Clermont-Ferrand comes
History of the Chapel The chapel in Royat was constructed in 1886 – the same year the Cathedral was built – in the simple Gothic style. It was intended as a place of worship for the English-speaking visitors to Royat, then and now popular for its mineral waters. Services in English continued in the chapel for many years, until the start of hostilities leading to World War I. In the 1920’s, English visitors did not flock to Royat as they had before. The church was ill-maintained and finally closed. After World War II, the Eglise Reformée, the principal French Protestant church, gained custody of the building and began repairs. They held services there during the summer months, an activity which continues today.
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The church expanded and contracted depending on the economic constraints and needs of Michelin, the employer of the majority of the congregation. The mission, begun with a small grant from the Bishopin-Charge, quickly assumed responsibility for much of its financial needs, thanks to a 100 percent pledging rate. Gifts of hymnals, prayer books, and linens came from parishioners and sister churches in the Convocation, and of course the Convocation continued to support the cost of the priest. When Father Joe was appointed Dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, the Bishop’s Committee at the church – the equivalent of a vestry in a mission church – was asked to consider options about how to proceed. Could the small mission, whose viability to that time had relied on a particular population, afford to hire and maintain a full-time pastor? In January 2003, after a great deal of preparation, we welcomed our first resident pastor, the Reverend Karl E. Bell, formerly rector of St. Augustine’s Church in Wiesbaden. Father Karl’s appointment was as an interim priest – meaning he would be leaving in the near future – but the congregation set to work finding and furnishing an apartment and setting up bank accounts and other administrative systems: for the first time our community was called to provide a home and office for our very own priest. With Father Karl in place, the church began holding services every week rather than twice a month. Because most of the congregants are expatriates, a lot of families take the opportunity to travel in Europe on weekends during their short stay. Many in the small congregation believed that weekly services would reduce the number of people in the pews. Happily, the opposite happened, and the congregation began to grow.
Father Karl retired two years later, and was succeeded, again on an interim basis, by the Reverend Tony Clavier, who lived for a time in Clermont-Ferrand with his wife, Pat.
Saints Church in Waterloo, was called to shepherd our church. Father Luk and his American-born wife, Tiffany, accepted the challenge in July 2005. And the church continued to grow.
ministries include Sunday school, a prayer chain, Bible study groups for women, for men, and for couples, a youth group, outreach to college students, lots of music, and lots of fellowship.
The winters are cold in the hills outside of Clermont, and our church was built as a summer chapel. Other than an unreliable (and later proven dangerous!) gas heater, there was no heating in the space. From December until late March, congregants dressed warmly and we could see our breath during most services. So, thanks to a grant from the Cathedral in Paris, we installed infrared lamp heaters. Also during this time the Bishop’s Committee decided to change the hour of services from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. Again, many in the congregation believed that attendance would suffer. Again, the opposite happened, and the church continued to grow.
That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it… Through a series of true leaps of faith the congregation has thrived. It is funny what a bit of success can do for a group. People who in their home towns would not think of attending the same church, worship and enjoy fellowship together. Willingly. Happily. Faithfully. I often hear from former members who have returned to their lives in the states. Overwhelmingly, one of the main things they miss is the fellowship of the church.
You want to pass it on… Starting with five faithful families, the support of the Convocation, the vision of Bishop Rowthorn, the continuing support of Bishop Whalon, the commitment of Father Britton, the numerous members of Bishop’s Committees, hundreds of congregants have come and gone, until today, our church has been blessed.
After a long and far-reaching search, the Bishop’s Committee sought the help of the Holy Spirit. After much prayer, the Reverend Dr. Luk DeVolder, a Belgian priest who had served most recently at All
The church has grown from being a mission relying on the Convocation for support to a mission that supports itself and contributes to the Convocation. We have members that participate in every area of the Convocation; on the Council of Advice, the Finance Committee, and participation in Youth Events. Some of our
Christ Church today has an average weekly attendance of about 70 congregants. In February 2008, at a meeting with Bishop Pierre Whalon, the decision was made to begin the process of admission to the Convention as a parish, which will make Christ Church the ninth parish in the Convocation.” And the church continues to grow… David Marker
How you can leave money to the Cathedral • for a modest amount... • that you can easily add to as your eventual financial needs become clearer... • within the context of the Episcopal Church... • quickly and with minimal paperwork... • with tax advantages for U.S. taxpayers... • with no fees... • without needing an attorney... • with quarterly income to you... • before you have time to organize your final estate plans... In 2005 Edward Dey, long-term parishioner, found the answer to all these questions – the Pooled Income Fund of the Episcopal Church Foundation. He decided to “dip his toe” into planned giving by making a small initial donation to the Cathedral through this channel and has added to it since then.
He liked the combination of working through an Episcopalian organization while also benefiting from professional funds management by State Street in Boston, a well-regarded institution that handles funds for other charities as well. If you would like to know more about this fund you can read about it, and other donation options, at the Episcopal Foundation website, www.episcopalfoundation.org, email them through the site, call them at 212-697-2858, ask Nancy Janin, chair of the Development committee at development@americancathedral. org or 01 45 66 08 87, or ask Edward! As a planned gift, a donation to the Pooled Income Fund qualifies you as a member of the Cathedral’s legacy society, The Trinity Society. Yet another reason to check this out.
The Trinity Societyl
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The Dean’s Message
Expressing the power of life over death
he tradition of the Church teaches us that Easter is not just a day. It is a season of celebration. Easter is a season grounded in joyous and triumphant resurrection theology. I write this as we approach the end of this “Great Fifty Days of Easter” and deeply aware that in the afterglow of Easter Alleluias we still live in a world that is torn apart. Our efforts to sustain Easter joy are poignantly compromised by the brutal realities of ever deepening, seemingly intractable conflict in Iraq and in that Middle Eastern geography we call the “Holy Land.” Our sense of Easter triumph is profoundly challenged by news from around the globe of brutal conflict or oppression, almost always at the expense of the most vulnerable and marginalized. The Alleluias of Easter stand in competition for our attention with the sound of weaponry, the cries of human agony or rage, alongside the threats and counterthreats of hostility, terrorism, or vengeance in so many parts of “this fragile earth, our island home.” The reality is that the Easter dream seems as elusive as it ever has. Day by day we seem to be slipping backwards. One wonders if humanity really has the will – whether peace is really such a high priority after all. And we find ourselves caught up with my fellow Virginian Patrick Henry, shouting, “gentlemen may cry Peace, Peace, but there is not peace.” We watch in utter disbelief as cauldrons of discontent continually explode into escalating bloodshed and terrorism, violence and heartbreak. Will the message of Easter joy, love, and triumph over death ever become a sustained reality for human beings in this life? It is clear that God’s will is still to be done on earth – as it is in heaven. We must believe this: that it shall be done on earth. And in believing this, we can, as Paul enjoins us, “live at peace with one another.” The challenge for us as believers in the
Good News of Easter is that we can do more than bury our heads in frenetic busy-ness or confusion or denial. And we can do more
the weak – you are a witness to the power of Easter. When you strive toward the healing of broken relationships, when you are there when needed for your family or your friend or your church, you are a witness to the miracle of Easter. When you stand up for truth or integrity, when you love even the most unlovable, perhaps especially the unlovable, you are a witness to the miracle of Easter. Our Easter mission is clear: we are to live in our lives what we profess in our faith. It is so easy to be discouraged or overwhelmed by the brilliant and creative ways in which human beings make a mess of the world. Yes, we are often left stunned by the unimaginable cruelty issuing out of human pride and hubris, fear and intolerance. And sadly this often translates into unthinkable and unspeakable cruelty and tragedy. Yet, we do not have to look far to see that human beings can be and often are incredibly good and noble, courageous and bold, in serving the cause of love and peace and justice. After all, we are created in the image of God. In the midst of a world which seems to be tearing itself apart, Anne Lamott reminds us that faith is not about intellectual certainty; it is really not a thing of the mind. And it is not just a feeling, a reflection of the heart’s conviction. Easter faith is about a decision to take God seriously as the God of life – all of life, your life and mine. Easter faith is about deciding to live out the hours and days of our lives in concrete ways that express the power of life over death, hope over despair, love over hate. Let us stand tall and boldly claim the promise of Easter in this season and beyond. Let us claim this Easter message of resilience, possibility and hopefulness all the year long. With Christ as our companion along the way, let us persevere as faithful witnesses in the cause of goodness and love. Zachary Fleetwood
Will the message of Easter joy, love, and triumph over death ever become a sustained reality for human beings in this life?
than pray. Each of us can be an active vessel of God’s of healing, reconciling love and hope. Easter begins with you and with me. In her wonderful book “Traveling Mercies,” Anne Lamott writes: “Easter is so profound. Easter says that love is more powerful than death: bigger than the dark, bigger than cancer, bigger than airport security lines.” And, keeping vigil with a dying friend, Lamott writes: “Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing: that love is bigger than any grim, bleak [stuff ] anyone can throw at us.” Easter is about life; the life of the world – your life and mine. What Easter proclaims is this: life must go on. Nothing can stop the power of life, not even death. That is what compels us to proclaim at every funeral, “All we go down to the dust, yet even at the grave we make our song alleluia, alleluia, allelulia.” Life must go on; the life of the world, your life and mine. Easter is about life; the life of the world – your life and mine. Making the message of Easter a sustained reality for the life of the world begins with you and with me. Our job as Easter people who believe in the power of love and goodness, is to live in such a way that the Easter miracle can be seen in how we live our lives. When you give food to the hungry and drink for the thirsty, when you forgive those who have hurt you, when you stand up for TRINITÉ ~ Spring 2008
The choir through the years In many ways, the Cathedral was designed – and grew – around its choral music
The most important source of information about the early years of this parish remains Cameron Allen’s monumental unpublished volume, The History of the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (from its origins until 1980) From Allen we learn that, during its years on the rue Bayard, before moving into its present buildings, Holy Trinity was drawing new people to its pews in part because of its “new emphasis” on music: On 10 April 1869 the Music Committee reported on its search for a new organist. One of the adopted “Recommendations” of the Finance Committee on 13 January 1870 was “That a sum be set apart for the support of an efficient choir, the amount to be paid monthly.” In the ear-
lier years … the organists were amateurs such as Andrew D. Lillie and the first Rector’s wife, Julia (Schuyler) Lamson. Professional singers began entering the choir …
It appears that the Rector, the Vestry and/or a “Music Committee” had the responsibility for hiring, paying, and firing singers – which necessitated auditions and the like. I doubt that the Vestry today would want to get as involved. But: by 11 December 1879 Mr. Elliot’s [the Organist] services were obviously working out to universal satisfaction and it was ‘Voted, that the Rector be requested to have an interview with Mr. Elliot the organist and ascertain whether he would
Photo: Kristen Ketron
e see them up there, almost every Sunday … they process in during the Entrance Hymn, in their red cassocks and white surplices … they help lead us in worship, they sing special anthems at various points in the service, and we love it … but who are they, and have they always looked and sounded that way? When the Church of the Holy Trinity was founded in the mid-19th century – we did not become a “cathedral” until 1922 – a choir was a given. The Oxford Movement of that period had reintroduced trained, vested choirs to the American Episcopal Church, which in those days closely followed the liturgical lead of the Church of England, where the trend originated.
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take charge of the whole music of the church, the organization of the choir, the choice and engagement of the singers, and if so, upon what terms, and report to the Vestry.
Obviously the Committee on Music was growing less keen on arranging voice try-outs. It may be easier to imagine the earliest choirs that occupied the current worship space, the George Edmund Street masterpiece of 1886. In fact, this extraordinary church literally was shaped by considerations of the role of the choir. At that time there were no Sunday School classrooms (as we know them) and hardly any office space – the staff was small, as worship was almost the almost the only activity of the church. There was no parish hall as such, and what we call the parish hall today was designed as the “Choir Vestry.” The large wooden cabinets lining the walls were for storage of choir vestments and other materials necessary for the support of a choir quite unlike the one we know today. The music department now shares those cabinets with several other Cathedral programs.
The rector responsible for the building was the Reverend John Brainerd Morgan, cousin to one of the richest Americans of his day, John Pierpont Morgan. The Morgan family, with the Vanderbilt family, was responsible for building a number of Episcopal churches on European soil. They had to go to church somewhere, so they built them! Morgan engaged Street, the foremost English architect of the day, to design a building solely dedicated to worship as it was defined at the time. The “stalls,” or pews, where the Choir sat (and on which it still sits) were designed for the typical choir of men and boys popular at the time in important churches all over the United States: the front row had very little leg room, because only boys occupied them. (The back row of seats, occupied by grown men, had generous leg room.) Those stalls remained uncomfortable for the adults who (later) occupied the front seats until relatively recently, in the early 1990s, when they were finally modified to accommodate adult legs. As for the music itself, Allen writes: In an “English” church, what would do, other than an English choir? That be-
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came precisely Mr. Morgan’s objective. … As he later stated, “Paris is the oldest and foremost of our foreign churches. The services should be as frequent and as dignified and beautiful as possible. The position is one almost semi-cathedral in character.”
In the mid-1880s, with the church under construction, Morgan founded the “Choir School of Holy Trinity Church” in the great tradition of the English (and some American) choir schools of the day. Its purpose was to provide voices for the Parish Choir; in return, the boys would receive education and housing. The boys were recruited from interested families in England, four boys each year for a fouryear period – or until their voices matured. Allen tells us: From that time until 1918 the reputation of the Choir of the Church of the Holy Trinity grew under the general control of a Precentor… and, under him, a choirmaster, and an organist. In addition to the 16 boys, there were 8 professional male adult singers hired to round out the roster: 4 tenors and 4 basses. The
Choir sang services every day, except for Wednesday, when Evensong was said.
♦ Years later, Dean Sturgis Riddle located a former member of the Choir School, and proposed that he write an account of his experience. Lionel H. Tripp penned a short historical novel, available in the Cathedral archives in typed manuscript form, that he entitled “An Odd School.” Our church is only thinly disguised. The influence of the church ran in one respect counter to that of the school: it stood for logic. There was something about this orderly array of Early English windows and the regular march of the pillars that checked our exuberance. Designed by Sir George Street, architect of the London Law Courts, it was a handsome building, looking with its steeple as though it had come straight from London. The well-appointed rooms suited their purpose exactly. It was typical that, without exception, every window in church and tower should be of stained glass. From the patent filter for the drinking water in the vestry, to the hydraulic lift which communicated with the mortuary chapel, all was precision, order and discipline. The church stood for order and discipline, and the contrast with the school leapt to the eye. In the whole edifice there was but one old object (four old objects, if we include the three janitors, who smelt vaguely bucolic) and that was the water tray – the tray on which the vestry water jug stood. In Summer cool, in Winter warm, and at all times clean and freshly beeswaxed, this church radiated peace, prosperity and civilization. I cannot remember ever having spent an
Vestiges of a long-ago choir unquiet moment within its walls (except when I sang a solo), and to this day there is no public building in the world I have loved so much.
Tripp’s last phrase expresses a sentiment with which many of us will agree. On the inside of several of the doors of those parish hall cabinets, originally robing closets, one can still find pencil marks indicating the height and names of the choir boys of the period. But soon troubles beset the Choir School. The Reverend Samuel Watson, who succeeded Morgan upon his death in 1912, wrote of the choir school’s predicament – finances: “There are no boys to be had here except we bring them here, and bringing them here means caring for them, and educating them…” And then war came to Europe. From November 1914 until October 1916, it was considered too dangerous for the boys to remain in Paris, so they returned to England. They were
The telephone rang...
Last August I received a phone call from a Monsieur Jean Dupoux, whose mother sang in Whipp’s choir in the late 1920s. Madame Dupoux’s 100th birthday was to be celebrated in late September. A large fête was planned, complete with photos taken throughout her rather fascinating life. Word quickly spread through the halls of the Cathedral … Frances Bommart, working in our archives, heard about the phone call, looked through the archives of that period, and found an undated photo of the Choir taken in the garden. Monsieur Dupoux visited the Cathedral, saw the photograph, and later found another photo of the same series in his mother’s home. That photo adorns the cover of this issue of Trinité. N.T.
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again active in late 1916 until early 1918, but the war was still raging. The parents of the boys were alarmed at the increasing bombardments at night, and began to request that their children be returned to England. Watson served as rector only until 1918, when he was succeeded by the Reverend Frederick Beekman; Beekman would remain 30 years, but the school was never re-founded. America’s place in the world changed, perhaps forever, with its involvement World War I, and at the same time a more solidly American (as opposed to English) way of doing things became the norm once again: Women were even re-admitted to the Choir! The termination of the Choir School, writes Allen, “very probably accorded with Dean Beekman’s concept of what sort of choir arrangements were desirable for Holy Trinity, but Mr. Morgan’s grave must have been unquiet indeed.” ♦ Instead, Dean Beekman formed what he called the “American War Choir,” directed by Gustin Wright, the organist for two years. The choristers, Allen tells us, were “Red Cross nurses, Y.W.C.A. and Y.M.C.A workers, and soldiers and sailors stationed in Paris who volunteered to keep the music going.” The Church of the Holy Trinity became the “Pro-Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity” in 1922. The Choirmaster hired in 1921, Lawrence K. Whipp, welcomed trained professionals and volunteers alike. The Choir’s reputation continued to be one of excellence, albeit with a totally different constituency – and workload. The Choir continued to sing Evensong every Sunday, September through June. Extra concerts of oratorios were offered frequently: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Brahms’s Requiem, for example; all sung, it appears, in English! The Parish Kalendar, the equivalent of our Sunday bulletin and newsletter combined, was published every two weeks, and it included titles of all anthems and hymns sung, and all organ music played. The German invasion of France in May, 1940, brought all that to an end. As I wrote in my account of Whipp’s role as the Cathedral’s wartime caretaker (Trinité, Spring 2007), the church was requisitioned by the Nazis and became the Deutsche Evangelis17
che Wehrmachtkirche for the duration of the war. The Choir was disbanded. However, Vestry records do indicate a small sum of money for four singers was available, as services for the remaining Americans were held in our present Parish Hall under Whipp’s supervision. At Whipp’s mysterious death in 1945, he was replaced by Edmund Pendleton, organist/choirmaster of the American Church in Paris until the war, and formerly organist at the Cathedral’s student mission on the Left Bank, St. Luke’s Chapel. The Choir, after the war, was composed of soldiers, sailors, nurses, and auxiliary workers, as it was the principal post-war protestant military chapel, the “Official U. S. Army Church for Protestants” in France. (It had already played a similar role just after WWI.) A quick succession of organists ensued: Robert Owen, 1947-1948; Charles Dodsley Walker, 1948-1950; Donald Wilkins, 1950-1953. The long tenure of Normal Proulx (1953-1980) spanned a period of great change in church music, especially toward the end, as both the Episcopal Church’s prayer book and hymnal were revised in the late 1970s. “New” hymn texts required
new (and thus unfamiliar) tunes. The Prayer Book included other “canticles” (mainly sung Biblical texts, other than the psalms) and Proulx kept a number of contacts who sent to the Cathedral the latest new settings. In addition, a number of post-war compositions by a new generation of composers both in Europe and America received their first European hearing at the Cathedral. Proulx himself was the first American to win a Premier Prix in organ from the Paris Conservatory, where he was a student of the great Marcel Dupré. Proulx mixed paid professionals with talented volunteers, establishing the pattern that continues to this day. In 1975, the Cathedral Choir made a recording of anthems that reveals a sound quite different from what we know today. It was evidently a choir composed mainly of operatic voices, which sound wonderful individually but might not blend easily in a choir, according to today’s standards. Proulx retired in 1980, and from 1980 until 1989, the Cathedral saw another succession of talented organists and choirmasters until my arrival nearly twenty years ago, in November of 1989.
Today, I would like to think that the Choir’s contributions continue to add depth and beauty to our services. I appreciate the comments and compliments about the textural appropriateness of the music we sing; I plan it that way, and I’m glad to know when it comes across. My vision of an exceptional choir is this: a group of talented singer/musicians dedicated to the support of congregational singing, together with the embellishment of the services with only the best music, well sung. Choirs have been described as a reflection, a “microcosm” of the Cathedral congregation, or at least, a reflection of the tastes and attitudes of the parishioners. The Cathedral’s two choirs for young people, Trinitas and Cantori (see article below), are further testament to this. The adult choir’s repertoire ranges from the medieval to the contemporary – and boasts singers who excel in a broad range of musical and historical styles. Yet we work together towards a common goal, week after week. Working at the Cathedral and with our marvelous Choir has been the greatest honor of my career. Ned Tipton
Trinitas and Cantori
T The long-awaited recording of the Cathedral Choir singing a selection of glorious music from our popular carol services is now available. CDs at €15 or $20. Please visit the “music” page on www.americancathedral.org for ordering information.
he American Cathedral in Paris has a long and important tradition of youth choral singing. As mentioned in the accompanying article on the history of the Cathedral’s choir, the Cathedral was once home to a choir school, educating young boy singers brought from England to sing in the classic Anglican style. Today, the Cathedral continues to support and encourage the music education of youth, boys and girls, living in and around Paris through two choirs, Trinitas and Cantori. Starting at the age of 7, children join Trinitas, a mixed choir of boys and girls, and at 13, they “graduate” to the Cantori choir, where they continue to refine their musical skills. The choirs sing in the full range of worship services and in other contexts as well. In the past year both groups have sung at TRINITÉ ~ Spring 2008
Sunday morning Eucharist services and at “Sundays at Six” services. The two groups combined to sing at the Cathedral’s Christmas Eve service, and joined with the adult choir to sing a service of Evensong. In concert, the two groups sang at the American Embassy’s Children’s Christmas party, and most recently held a spring concert – an afternoon of music varying from 16th century anthems to gospel, spirituals, and music of Broadway. Previous years have included concert performances ranging in repertoire from Benjamin Britten’s Friday Afternoons to fully-staged productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The importance of these groups for young singers is tremendous, especially when one considers their unique situation in France, where youth choral singing is not a major part of their musical environment. By singing in a choir at the American
Contributors: Zachary Fleetwood has been Dean of the Cathedral since 2003. Christopher Houlihan, a junior at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, is Assistant Musician at the Cathedral and director of the Trinitas and Cantori choirs. Nancy Janin is a former senior warden of the Cathedral, currently its development chair, and co-editor of this magazine. Karen Lamb, a former Cathedral vestry member, is an active parishioner at Christ Church, Georgetown, in Washington. She serves on the Chapter of The Priory in the USA of The Order of St. John. David Marker, a management professor, is a former senior warden of Christ Church and a delegate to the annual Convocation Convention. Edward Tipton is the Cathedral’s canon precentor, organist and choirmaster.
Photographers: Kristen Ketron, co-chair of the Sunday School program, is a professional photographer; Nancy Treuhold is president of The American Cathedral in Paris Foundation, assisted in interviews with Mrs. Riddle, and is an amateur photographer.
Cathedral, these children, both Francophone and Anglophone, and who come from a variety of backgrounds, experience something very different from the rest of their young French peers. Cathedral choristers learn many skills, the first of which is general music theory education. Singers learn how to take a series of black lines and dots on a page and turn those symbols into a piece of performed music. In doing this they learn about melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, and all of the many other intricate subtleties of musical language. They also learn how to sing as an ensemble, which means breathing together, starting and ending notes together, pronouncing words the same way, and blending their singing tone to sound as one group. We also spend a lot of time talking about the words that we sing – not only with regard to their correct pronunciation, but also to what these words mean to us as Christians.
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Singing in a choir is no easy task, and a big aspect of singing in Trinitas or Cantori is learning responsibility and discipline. These singers know the importance of being on time to rehearsals, how to hold their music properly, and how to conduct themselves while singing in a church service or concert. These small examples of accountability translate into many other real-world situations. “All work and no play” doesn’t make for much of a choir either, so the program incorporates social activities throughout the year. Past events have included iceskating, roller-skating, bowling, and even an overnight choir workshop at the Cathedral. On a weekly level, each rehearsal begins or ends with a brief “snack time.” These events foster a sense of community amongst the singers, and give them an even deeper sense of pride and responsibility in their ensemble.
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It is evident that participating in the youth choirs of the Cathedral has a lifelong impact on these children. Choristers have gone on to sing in their high school and college choirs, to study voice or other musical instruments privately, or even to pursue music as their lifelong career. On a personal note, my interest in organ and sacred music began as a chorister at my hometown church in Somers, Connecticut, and marked the beginning of a musical journey that has brought me all the way to Paris, France. These choirs add immeasurably to the life of the entire Cathedral community as well, not only by broadening our musical experience, but also, through their music, enriching our worship services and thereby deepening us spiritually. In addition, the choirs serve as an important example throughout Paris (and, in fact, the world beyond) of the rich and diverse community that is alive and present at the American Cathedral. Christopher Houlihan 19
Published on Jun 30, 2015