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Notes from Amsterdam Avenue

MARJORIE BECKER

ALUMNI CHORISTER MEMORIES

Singing in Harmony Alumni choristers raised their voices with Cathedral’s student choristers during an unforgettable reunion over the 2018 Spring Fair weekend The walls of the Cathedral rang joyfully during a special Choral Evensong on May 19, 2018. In addition to celebrating Pentecost, this service also commemorated the shared musical legacy of the Cathedral and The Cathedral School, as current choristers joined their voices with chorister alumni in a magnificent performance featuring more than six decades of Cathedral School students. The reunion weekend began with an alumni rehearsal on Saturday afternoon as singers warmed up their vocal cords by delving into musical selections from Ralph Vaughan Williams (“O Clap Your Hands”), Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (“Jerusalem”), and more. After being fitted for robes, the guests adjourned for the evening and returned Sunday afternoon for a combined rehearsal with current choristers and members of the Cathedral choir before the 4 o’clock service in the Great Choir.

“It was nice singing in the Great Choir again, especially being right next to a professional bass,” said Pete Haynsworth ’60. “The reception in St. James Chapel, which was the location of numerous ordination services during my time there, was also very lovely.” After the service, alumni and guests mingled with current choristers and their families while enjoying food and fellowship. Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music, and Angie Karna, chorister parent and former President of the Board of Trustees, also shared remarks. “The chorister program is truly the jewel of the school,” said Ms. Karna. “We are blessed to have the leadership of Kent Tritle, [Associate Choirmaster] Bryan Zaros, [Organist] Raymond Nagem, and so many more who have helped shape this dynamic program throughout its storied past, wonderful present, and illustrious future.”

Michel Kinter ’68 shared additional memories of his time at Cathedral, including performing works by Benjamin Britten, Johannes Brahms, and Igor Stravinsky, and participating in the live recording of Divine Hair / Mass in F, a liturgical setting written by Galt McDermot, James Rado, and Gerome Ragni, the creators of the Broadway musical Hair. Of that service, he recalled: “The Cathedral was packed and rocking with everyone singing “Let the Sunshine In.” McDermot stopped playing the electric piano and just listened, as if in a daze. It was spectacular.” Richard Wyton ’70 is the son of Alec Wyton, Organist and Choirmaster at Cathedral from 1954 to 1974. In testament to the tight-knit nature of the chorister experience, Pete Haynsworth ’60 recalled that he and his fellow choristers were present for Richard’s christening as an infant in the Cathedral Baptistery outside of the Chapel of St. Ansgar.

“Looking back, my experience as a chorister was work but fun,” said Michel Kinter, a member of the class of 1968. “Learning to read music, learning to sing together, to work together, instilled in me a work ethic and a foundation of discipline and respect that have carried me successfully through a career in labor relations and happily through everyday life.”—Daniel Hrdlicka

T H E M AG A Z I N E O F T H E C AT H E D R A L S C H O O L O F ST. J O H N T H E D I V I N E

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Profile for The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine

Cathedral Magazine (Spring 2019)