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One Hundred and Fifty Years of Sacred Music

1864-2014 Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


One Hundred Fifty Years of Music at the Cathedral Table of Contents

Cathedral Music Leadership Michael H. Cross Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1864 – 1877

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Richard Zeckwer 3 Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1878 – 1880 Emil Gastel 3 Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1881 - 1882 Samuel Herrmann 4 Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1883 – 1896 Edwin F. MacGonigle Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1897 – 1902

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William A. Thunder 5 Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1902 - 1925 Dr. Reginald Mills Silby Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1925 - 1935

Gerard Stief 7 Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1935 - 1967 Dr. Peter LaManna 8 Director of Liturgical Music, Archdiocese of Philadelphia Director of Music and Choirmaster, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Director, Philadelphia Institute of Ministerial Music Chair, Fine Arts Department and Director of Music, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary Years of Service: 1968 - 1990 Michael Sheerin Cathedral Music Director and Organist Years of Service: 1990 – 2010

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Dr. John A. Romeri 9 Director, Office of Liturgical Music, Archdiocese of Philadelphia Cathedral Music Director and Organist Years of Service: 2010 to the Present

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Cathedral Choir Directors Richard Tecca Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1965 – 1967

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The Cathedral Choirs

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A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection…

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Cathedral Music Directors Michael H. Cross Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1864 – 1877 • He was born in 1833. • Son of the famous Philadelphia composer Benjamin Cross (b. 1786, d. 1857); who was one of the founding members of the Music Fund Society of Philadelphia and one of its first Music Directors. • Michael continued his father’s musical legacy in Philadelphia as a dominant force in the field of choral conducting. He conducted the most prestigious choral groups in the city, including the Orpheus Club, the Abt male chorus, the Arion men's singing society of Germantown, the Euridice women's chorus, and the Cecelian mixed chorus. He was the organist of Saint Patrick’s church at the age of 10 and was the organist of Saint John’s Church, the then Pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese, before becoming organist and choirmaster of the Cathedral on Logan Square from 1864 to 1877. After leaving the Cathedral, he played at the First Baptist Church, the Beth Eden Church, and was music director at the Church of the Holy Trinity for the last 19 years of his life. On October 21, 1868, he dedicated the new organ of the First Presbyterian Church in Kensington. On November 18, 1868, along with several other organists, he inaugurated the cathedral organ built by John C.B. Standbridge & Sons of Philadelphia. Easter, April 15, 1871, under the direction of Michael H. Cross, the Cathedral Choir sang Te Deum by Mozart, Haydn’s Mass No. 6, Veni Sancti by Vogler, and Alma Virgo of Hummel. This is indicative of the type of music he promoted throughout his tenure as the Cathedral organist and choirmaster. October 26, 1887, he delivered a paper entitled “Catholic Choirs and Choir Music in Philadelphia” to an assembly of the American Catholic Historical Society. His opinion was often sought on matters related to music and he was often quoted in newspapers and other publications. He was an active member of many music societies in the city of Philadelphia. He succumbed to heart disease in 1897.

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Cathedral Music Directors

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Richard Zeckwer Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1878 – 1880 • • • • •

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He was born in Stendal, Prussia, on April 20, 1850 and studied music in Leipzig. He was one of the leading music educators of his time. In 1870, along with three other musicians, opened the Philadelphia Music Academy, which later became the Zeckwer-Hahn Academy. In 1894, the 25th season, there were 1,129 pupils enrolled in the academy. He was an officer of the Music Educators National Conference. February 14, 1878, the Cathedral Choir and the Seminary Choir, under the direction of Mr. Zeckwer, provided the music for the local commemoration of the death of Pope Pius IX. Ohne Wald’s Requium Mass was sung and the Funeral March by Beethoven and the Funeral March by Chopin were the processionals played by Professor Zeckwer on the organ. Easter Sunday, April 20, 1878, he did Beethoven’s Mass in C, Mendelssohn’s First March, Abbe Vogler’s Veni Sancte and Hummel’s Alma Virgo; apparently not making many changes to the repertoire in his inaugural year as organist and choirmaster. He solicited three bids to repair the Cathedral Standbridge organ – Roosevelt, Hook & Hastings, and Knauf. The rector, Father Elcock, chose the local organ builder to repair the organ against the advice of Mr. Zeckwer. After a plea to Archbishop Wood to reverse the decision failed, Mr. Zeckwer resigned his position in July of 1880. Mrs. McSorley became the interim organist for the remainder of 1880. He died December 30, 1922.

Emil Gastel

Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1881 - 1882 • • • • •

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He was born in Dresden, Saxony, on February 27, 1847. He was a member of the faculty of the Philadelphia Music Academy. He married fellow music teacher Emma Roeder and their son was a violin virtuoso who performed with the Henry Gordon Thunder Orchestra as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra. Easter Sunday, April 10, 1882, Schubert’s Mass in Bb was heard for the first time in a church in Philadelphia. In addition, the invocation “Veni Creator” was sung and Mozart’s motet, “Deus Tibi laus et honor” was sung at the offertory. On April 27, 1882, Emil Gastel directed the Germania Orchestra for the Mass celebrating the silver jubilee of the Most Reverend Archbishop Wood; performing Mendelssohn’s “Priests’ March.” Haydn’s Sixth Mass, Mozart’s third motette, “Gloria, Laus, et Honor,” and Haydn’s “Te Deum” were sung by a chorus of forty voices supported by the orchestra. He was the first musical conductor of Polyhymnia, a musical society founded in 1882. He was instrumental in the development of several voice methods books. He was an active member of the German Society and participated in numerous charity concerts to support the group and their efforts. He died May 26, 1916.

Cathedral Music Directors

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Samuel Herrmann Organist and Music Director Years of Service: 1883 – 1896

• He was born in Philadelphia on July 26, 1860. • In September of 1877, Samuel Herrmann traveled to Germany to pursue his dream of becoming a conducter. During the slow journey across the Atlantic Ocean by steamship, he befriended a fellow budding musician, George Whitefield Chadwick. Chadwick later dedicated one of his first compositions to his friend Samuel. • While organist and music director of the Cathedral, he was also the organist at Rodeph Shalom Synagogue. His brother, Emanuel Herrmann, was an accomplished violinist whose services were in constant demand. According to an article in The Times, the music for Easter Sunday 1885 was “chosen from the inexhaustible Cathedral repertoire.” In addition to familiar Haydn’s Mass in B flat and the Alma Virgo, several new selections were also heard that day including Veni Creator by Gounod. The organ prelude was Fantasia by Professor Herrmann, the postlude was “Saint Anne Fugue” by Bach. The Times reported that the postlude was “the chief instrumental attraction of the day. This fugue was selected to exhibit the extraordinary powers of the Cathedral organ.” Year after year, the music listed in the monthly Cathedral Calendar (a precursor of today’s bulletins) included outstanding composers such as Palestrina, Mozart, Saint-Saens, and Gounod. He suffered a heart attack on February 12, 1913, while sitting at a piano in the lobby of the Hotel Lorraine, and died in the hospital that same day.

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Edwin F. MacGonigle Organist and Music Director Years of Service: 1897 – 1902 • • •

He was born in Pennsylvania in November of 1843. He was a renowned professor of Latin and Gregorian Chant. He studied in Rome for nine years with a particular emphasis on Gregorian Chant and the pronunciation of Latin in connection with Church Music. He was frequently consulted on Gregorian Chant and Latin by editors of Catholic publications. On March 29, 1873, even before coming to the Cathedral as music director, he conducted the Seminary Choir during Tenebrae at the Cathedral. He was a noted composer of Litanies. His setting of the Marian Antiphon, Ave Regina Caelorum, copyright December 18, 1885, was very well received. According to the Philadelphia Times, Easter Sunday services at the Cathedral on April 18, 1897 offered “soul inspiring music… in the Cathedral’s solemn grandeur.” The Times also noted, “Under the direction of Professor Edwin McGonigle, a double quartet of soloists supported by an augmented chorus of sixty voices rendered the different pieces of an elaborate and well-arranged program for Pontifical Vespers.” Over the course of a forty-year career, he was professor of Latin and Gregorian Chant at Saint Charles Seminary in Overbrook, Saint Vincent Seminary in Germantown, and Saint Thomas Seminary in Villanova. He was also director of the choirs at Saint James and Saint Agatha in addition to his role as organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral. His death was reported in Etude Magazine in June 1914.

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Cathedral Music Directors

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William S. Thunder Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1902 – 1925

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• He was born in 1876 • In 1897, an article in the Philadelphia Times states, “William S. Thunder, organist and director at St. Patick’s Church, is the youngest musician in the city holding a position of this class.” • William’s brother, Henry Gordon Thunder, founded the Philadelphia Choral Society in the early 1900’s. Henry also directed an orchestra known as the Thunder Orchestra whose members formed much of the then new Philadelphia orchestra in 1900. William often accompanied for his older brother. During his tenure at the Cathedral Basillica of Saints Peter and Paul, William also worked for Cyrus H.K. Curtis as his residence organist in Wyncote, Pa. (1920’s) (the Curtis residence organ is now in Christ Church, Philadelphia). He was the organist and accompanist of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski from 1916 to 1928. Professor Thunder has served as instructor in Music at the University of Pennsylvania, Ursinus College, and at Temple University. He also acted as instructor in Music at the University of California, Summer Session. He was an accomplished musician who was sought after as a piano accompanist by many famous instrumentalists and vocalists of his day, such as Schumann-Heink, Hans Kindler, and Fritz Kreisler. He was also the featured performer for countless concerts and charity events. In 1920, he was responsible for the new Cathedral Organ, Opus 936, built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, CT. On March 26, 1923, he presented Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Cathedral as a way of introducing Paul Breedy, a promising young tenor who was engaged to sing as the Cathedral Choir’s lead tenor for the remainder of the 1923 season. Under his direction, the Cathedral Choir grew to 150 voices. In 1934 he was the Organist at Drexel Institute and convinced Cyrus H.K. Curtis to donate a pipe organ to the school since he had already done so for Penn. When Curtis asked how much the instrument would cost, Thunder, without thinking, blurted out “$40,000.” Without batting an eye, Curtis said to go ahead!

Cathedral Music Directors

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Dr. Reginald Mills Silby Organist and Choirmaster Years of Service: 1925 – 1935 • He was born in London, England on March 8, 1884 and died in New York City on January 13, 1954. He attended the Brompton Oratory in London for both primary and secondary school; which some credit for his conversion to the Catholic faith at the age of 18. • From 1903 to 1909, he served as assistant organist and choirmaster at the newly opened Westminster Cathedral in London, England under the tutelage of Sir Richard Runciman Terry. He came to the United States in 1909 and served as organist and choirmaster at St. Patrick’s Church in Washington DC from 1909 to 1919 and St. Cecilia’s Cathedral in Omaha, NE from 1919 to 1925, before coming to Philadelphia to serve as organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, PA from 1925 to 1935. During his time as Organist and Choirmaster for the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, he formed the Cathedral Men and Boys Choir as well as a Medieval Chorus. There were no professional or paid singers in the choirs during Dr. Silby’s time and attendance by the volunteers for practices and even Masses was said to be sporadic at best. He insisted on strict adherence to the “Motu Proprio” of Pope Pius X and programmed only chant and sophisticated polyphony. While in Philadelphia, he also held part-time positions at Villanova College, the Vincentian Minor Seminary in Plainsboro, NJ, the Vincentian novitiate and motherhouse in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He was one of several music directors involved with a music conservatory in downtown Philadelphia, but left the conservatory in 1934 due to conflicts with Nicola Montani. John Cardinal O’Hara (Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1952 to 1960) studied chant with Dr. Silby while in the seminary and encouraged his pursuit of quality music at the Cathedral He is noted as an exceptional musician who possessed sophisticated improvisatory skills at the organ and he composed several motets and Masses. He served as organist and choirmaster at St. Ignatius Church on Park Avenue in New York City from 1935 to 1955.

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Cathedral Music Directors

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Gerard Stief Organist and Music Director Years of Service: 1935 – 1967 • • • • • •

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He was born April 2, 1915 and was raised in the coal mining region of Mount Carmel in upstate Pennsylvania. He started singing with both the Cathedral Men and Boys Choir and the Medieval Chorus in 1934 during his first year of studies at Temple University. He studied Church Music and organ with Dr. Silby and took trips to Germany each summer during the 1950’s to study music as well. He assumed the position of organist and choirmaster for the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on October 1, 1935; shortly after the resignation of Dr. Silby. He was able to reintroduce the role of paid singers for the Men and Boys Choir, however the number of boys in the choir diminished greatly when the Cathedral grade school closed. It is reported that he never used any of the organ-accompanied Mass settings popular during his tenure (e.g. Perosi, Montani, etc) but would program some of his original Mass settings and motets or the Mass settings of his predecessor, Dr. Reginald Silby. The Mens Choir sang the Propers of the day from the Liber Usualis, motets (never anthems and always in Latin and unaccompanied) were added at the distribution of Holy Communion. He stepped down as music director in 1965, but continued to work with the parish Men and Boys choir for a few more years and remained as parish organist until 1985. Cardinal Krol personally acknowledged his 50 years of service to the Cathedral Community. Three years after leaving his post at the Cathedral, he accepted the position of choir director and organist for the Sunday Solemn Mass at Holy Child Church and did so from 1961 until 1978. He also served as the daily Mass organist at Saint John’s for fifty years. On December 30, 1994, he died while seated at the organ of Saint John’s Church. He could be heard playing preludes before Mass but when it came time for the Entrance Processional there was no music.

Cathedral Music Directors

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Dr. Peter LaManna Director of Liturgical Music, Archdiocese of Philadelphia Director of Music and Choirmaster, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Director, Philadelphia Institute of Ministerial Music Chair, Fine Arts Department and Director of Music, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary Years of Service: 1968 - 1990 • •

He was born in Reading, PA on August 15, 1930. At 16 years of age, he became one of the youngest church organists in Reading, PA when he accepted the position of organist at Saint Anthony’s Lithuanian Catholic Church. • From 1954 to 1956 he traveled the world as a tenor soloist with the Trapp Family Singers. • In 1961, he was named Director of the Men and Boys Choir of Saint Francis De Sales Church. • From 1965 to 1976 he was the director of the Reading Choral Society. • In 1968 he was appointed director of liturgical music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and director of music and choirmaster of the Cathedral-Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul. • In 1970 he was asked to assume the position of Chair of the Fine Arts Department of Saint Charles Seminary. • He was known to be exceptionally passionate about improving the quality of Catholic Church Music, with a particular emphasis on Gregorian Chant. • La Manna sang the role of Evangelist in the world premiere of Alberto Ginastera’s “Turbae” in 1975, with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. • In October 1975, he became the first lay person appointed to the position of Chairperson of the Commission on Sacred Music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. • In 1976, LaManna was director of music for the 42nd International Eucharistic Congress, held in Philadelphia, and was director of its 1,000- voice Congress Choir and Orchestra. During the visit of Pope John Paul II to Philadelphia in October 1979, LaManna served as director of music and choirmaster for the occasion. • Among his many honors were the Silver Medal of the Couree of the French Academy in Paris and being knighted in the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Paul VI. • He established the Association of Church Musicians in Philadelphia, as the educational arm of the Archdiocesan Office for Liturgical Music. • He was a founding member of the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians and hosted its first conference in Philadephia in in the spring of 1983. • He died January 16, 1990.

Cathedral Organists Elaine Rendler, 1965-1970 Robert Russell, 1970-1985 Michael Sheerin, 1985-2011 8

Cathedral Music Directors

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Michael Sheerin Cathedral Music Director and Organist Years of Service: 1990 - 2010

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• Assumed the Director of Music position, after serving as Cathedral Organist, following Dr. LaManna’s death. • Annual Advent Concerts in the Basilica with the Collegiate Choir, Archdiocesan Choir, Archdiocesan Boys’ Choir. • Celebration of Papal Election of Pope in 2005 with the Collegiate Choir and Archdiocesan Choir. Installation as Cardinal of Cardinals Bevilacqua and Rigali in the Basilica with Collegiate Choir and Archdiocesan Choir. The Funeral Mass for Cardinal Krol with the Collegiate Choir Chapel Organists and Archdiocesan Choir. Gerard Stief He participated in the 40th Anniversary Concert for the Paul Marchesano Association of Church Musicians in Philadelphia, held at the Cathedral.

Dr. John A. Romeri Director, Office of Liturgical Music, Archdiocese of Philadelphia Cathedral Music Director and Organist Years of Service: 2010 - Present • • • •

Reinstituted the Archdiocesan Choir of Philadelphia Founding Director, Archdiocesan Girls Choir Founded “Concerts at the Cathedral Basilica” Established the Cathedral Basilica Academy offering training in Sacred Music

Cathedral Organ Scholar

William Roslak, January 2011 – June 2013 Westminster Choir College

Archdiocesan Organist Zachary Hemenway, Spring 2011 Cathedral Artist in Residence – Organist Dr. Steven Ball, September 2013 -

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Cathedral Choir Directors Richard Tecca Cathedral Choir Director Years of Service: 1965 – 1967 • Founding Director of the Cathedral (Collegiate) Choir • Recruited students from the area Catholic Colleges and Newman Centers to be Members of the Choir. • The Choir was to be a kind of “training ground” for future Choir Directors. This is what he envisioned. • The Choir sang the 11:00 AM Mass each Sunday and for Christmas • Rehearsals took place in the Cathedral Rectory every Friday at 5:30. Cathedral Organists Elaine Rendler, 1965-1970

Carol Ann (Penny) Coyne

Assistant Director of Cathedral Choir (Worked with Richard Tecca and Peter LaManna)

Rosemary Hudechek

Assistant Director of Cathedral Choir and Director of Archdiocesan Boy Choir (Worked with Peter LaManna)

Tom Windfelder

Director of Archdiocesan Boy Choir (Current Director-Since 1990)

Elizabeth Folger and Michael Zubert

Current Assistant Directors of Archdiocesan Girls Choir

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Cathedral Choir Directors

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The Cathedral Choirs Historically choirs in the Cathedral from the very first days must have been outstanding. Article after article in both the Catholic and secular press spoke about the splendor and beauty of the Cathedral choirs. In the early days, also listed were the names of the quartet of soloists. On the major feasts, it might even be an octet of soloists and often an “augmented” choir. In the early part of 1900, we see that the Cathedral Men and Boys choir was established, replacing mixed choirs as well the soloists. This was no doubt following the November 22, 1903 Tra le sollecitudini (Italian for “among the concerns”) issued by Pope Pius X on the reaffirmation of chant and Renaissance polyphony. The Cathedral’s Men and Boys Choir had their final masses in 1967. On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in 1965, Richard Tecca, at the urging of Archbishop Krol and Cathedral Rector, Monsignor John Donnelly, founded a Cathedral Choir of women and men. Dr. LaManna renamed this choir the Collegiate Choir. He also created the Archdiocesan Boy Choir and The Archdiocesan Choir. Since 2010, under the present Office for Liturgical Music, a Cathedral Choir and Archdiocesan Girls Choir were established, as well as the reinstitution of the Archdiocesan Choir.

A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection… Introduction The Collegiate Choir was founded in 1965 by Mr. Richard (Dick) Tecca and was originally referred to as the Cathedral Choir. He recruited members from the Catholic colleges and the Neumann Centers of the public colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area. While visiting various campuses, Mr. Tecca spoke passionately about sacred music and extended a sincere invitation for the college musicians to share in such a rewarding experience. Most of the members found out about the choir by word of mouth. Dick envisioned the choir as a “training ground” for future choir directors and the young musicians eagerly accepted the challenge of that vision. Many of these young people went out from the Cathedral Choir into the parishes of the archdiocese to inspire the next generation of church musicians.

The Cathedral Choirs • A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection...

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The choir met every Friday during the school year in the parlor of the cathedral rectory. Rehearsals were intense but no one complained because they enjoyed the work. In those early days, Cardinal Krol would invite visiting dignitaries to listen to the choir as they rehearsed. A former choir member recalled a time when the Cardinal interrupted practice to introduce his friend to them. It was the famous actress, Ruby Keeler, who was in town performing in “No No Nannette.” Cardinal Krol often went out of his way to stop in and chat with the choir and to compliment them on their music. Choir members were normal young people. They went to parties and enjoyed life. But everything revolved around choir; plans were made for after choir practice. There were plenty of parties and sporting events, but their first commitment was to choir. As college students turned into working professionals, job responsibilities interfered with rehearsal schedules but even then people did their best to make sure they got to choir as often as possible. Collegiate choir always sang in robes with liturgical collars that matched the colors of the church calendar. They started each Sunday by singing Morning Prayer from the stalls of the Cathedral Sanctuary and then processed down the center aisle to the loft accompanied by an impressive piece performed flawlessly on the organ by Bob Russell, the collegiate choir organist. When Dr. Peter LaManna became the Director of Music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1968, he started referring to the Cathedral Choir as the Collegiate Choir. He did this in keeping with the European tradition and in a very short time the choir had a new name. Dr. LaManna continued Mr. Tecca’s tradition of quality music and infused an even deeper sense of spirituality into the group. Under Peter’s direction, the choir’s repertoire greatly expanded along with the places they sang. In addition to singing weekly at the cathedral, the choir traveled across Pennsylvania, the entire East coast, and eventually to Europe several times. Before their first European tour, the choir sponsored a flea market at Saint Francis de Sales church hall to raise money. However, for the most part, choir members were responsible for paying their own way for subsequent tours. 12

A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection…

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Dr. Peter LaManna was a musical genius who had the ability to explain things in a way that made sense to even the person with the least musical training in the group. When the choir was learning new music, he would share insights about the composition and it was obvious that he felt deeply about the music. Once they understood the piece, then they started to work on the actual notes and it was easy.

Collegiate Choir’s First European Tour - July 1974 The first European tour of the Collegiate Choir included stops in six countries: England, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Holland. The choir performed in various churches in each of those countries. The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to sing at the Vatican. While in Rome, the choir was granted an audience with Pope Paul VI. They Audience with Pope Paul VI found themselves at the very front of the audience hall. Everyone was vested in their robes and collars and as the Holy Father was escorted down the center aisle, the choirbroke into Palestrina’s Tu Es Petrus. The emotion of the moment, combined with excellent preparation, created a stirring rendition of the piece. When they finished, Pope Paul VI exclaimed “Optimo!” and later commented that he hadn’t expected a choir from the States to sound so beautiful. It was one of the first times the choir sang that piece and it quickly became one of their favorites. It was sung each year on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Throughout the seventies, it seemed there was always something big just around the corner. Between all of those major events, the choir also served the routine needs of the Cathedral community. The Collegiate Choir was always on call and were expected to come to the cathedral with little notice. When eight firefighters died in the Gulf Oil Refinery fire of 1975, their funeral mass was celebrated at the Cathedral. The choir’s phone chain went into high gear to make sure everyone was available to sing for that funeral. It was quite a sight to see their coffins lining the aisle. A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection…

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The 41st International Eucharistic Congress – 1976

The Collegiate Choir spent months and months preparing for their role in the Eucharistic Congress. For weeks on end, the choir practiced the SATB arrangement of “Gift of Finest Wheat”; culminating in a final rehearsal with the composer himself. When the week of the Congress finally arrived, there was very little time to practice before each event. The events were held in venues all around the city, Dell East, Mann Music Center, the Civic Center, St. Patrick’s Church, The Cathedral, JFK Stadium. Choir members had to find their way from one event to the next and make sure they were ready to sing when they got there. Many people used their vacation time from their jobs to be available to sing for the various events. A particularly strong memory is when the choir sang the “Via Sacra” by Marius Monnikendam. This was a musical setting of the Way of the Cross. For the Collegiate Choir, it wasn’t a particularly challenging piece to learn. However, on the evening of the performance, with the artwork of a local artist being projected onto a screen in the sanctuary, the simple beauty of the piece was readily apparent and everyone who attended the event was moved by the integration of the musical and visual arts. The Congress closed with Statio Orbis, the World Mass, celebrated with a full orchestra and a thousand voices who prepared separately and joined together for a brief but intense rehearsal the evening before the event. Everyone was hoping the Pope would come for the Mass but he was too ill to attend. 14

A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection…

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The Canonization of Saint John Nuemann – October 1977 The collegiate choir was the official choir of the canonization of Saint John Neumann at St. Peter’s Basilica. In record setting heat, the choir could be seen wearing their familiar robes over long sleeved white shirts with the women in long black skirts and the men in their black slacks. While taking their places, the choir looked out onto a sea of people in Saint Peter’s Square but then quickly focused their attention on their director and the work at hand. After the ceremony, as the choir walked the streets of the city they ran into people from Philadelphia and the reaction was always the same, the people were proud of “their choir.” The week after the canonization, the choir offered concerts at Saint John Lateran, Saint Mary Major and Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls. You can only imagine the thrill of singing there! For one former Collegiate Choir member, a particularly poignant memory of the canonization trip involves a married couple from Philadelphia who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by making the pilgrimage to Rome for the ceremonies. The choir had split into two groups, one went on a tour bus to Assisi and the other group on a tour bus to Sienna and Florence. The married couple traveled with the second group. When choir members returned to the bus after visiting the Cathedral in Sienna, they discovered that the husband had died of a massive heart attack. After a short time, the wife returned to the bus and told everyone that her husband would want her to continue on the trip to Florence and that’s what she did. That night, they listened as the woman shared stories of her husband with them over dinner. On the bus ride back to the hotel, the choir members did what came naturally to them – they offered the grieving widow their love and support by singing sacred music.

A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection…

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The Papal Visit to Philadelphia – 1979

The members of the choir were elated when they were told the Pope was coming to Philadelphia. It was one thing to go to Rome and sing at the Vatican, but to have the Holy Father come to your “home” and sing for him there, that was incredible. The day he arrived in Philadelphia was a beautiful, warm, sunny October day. The choir met at JFK stadium at dawn to board a bus that was in the papal motorcade. As the vehicles traveled up Broad Street, people lined both sides of the road waving to the Pope. People were hanging out the windows of the area businesses and homes. When they arrived at the Cathedral, they got out of the buses and went through the side doors and straight up to the choir loft. Upon entering the loft, they looked down on a sea of cloistered nuns and brothers who had received permission to leave their cloister and join with these other groups for a private audience with the Pope. What a vision! As the doors opened and the Pope stepped into the cathedral, the flashbulbs started popping and the choir broke into Tu Es Petrus. It was an amazing experience. After the audience, the collegiate choir was escorted outside to a spot on the bleachers by the Natural History Museum where they joined the others – the archdiocesan, seminary, and boys choirs – and led the singing for the Mass on the Parkway. The next day, the collegiate choir sang for the Mass in Convention Hall of the Civic Center. The choir was in the balcony section hanging over the altar. What a special privilege to be so close to the Holy Father as he celebrated this special Mass. 16

A Collegiate Choir Member’s Reflection…

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So Many to Thank‌ While this is very much a work in progress and will continue for years to come filling in all of the details, there are already many contributors to thank:

Thank You

Jean Madden, Project Coordinator, has given untold hours of research, phone calls and hunting through archives near and far. Without her, this project would not be a reality! I extend the gratitude of us all to Jean for giving us the richness of our Archdiocesan Sacred Music History.

Sr. Mary Daniel, SSCJ Louis Ferrero Carl Gedeik Loretta Hartnett Michael Hogue Christopher Kehoe Paul Marchesano Elaine Rendler Richard Tecca Shawn Weldon


Profile for Concerts at the Cathdral Basilica

150 Years of Sacred Music  

This commemorative booklet outlines the Cathedral Basilica's Music Directors from 1864 to 2014.

150 Years of Sacred Music  

This commemorative booklet outlines the Cathedral Basilica's Music Directors from 1864 to 2014.

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