Yesterday, the Cathedral resounded with 260 singers and the largest orchestra the church has seen. Five choirs and students and faculty of Drake University, as well as area professional instrumentalists, packed the Cathedral in a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Hodie (This Day), a remarkable cantata that travels through the Christmas story. Browse photos of the event here.
Thanks to Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier, Director of Choral Studies at Drake University, for gathering the musicians and visionaries necessary to perform something of this magnitude. Dr. ABC also directs the music for diocesan liturgies, such as ordinations and the Chrism Mass.
Bishop Pates designated this as a closing event for the international Year of Faith. called by Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the historic renewals of worship and church life set forth by Vatican II 50 years ago. The two Hodie performances saw packed houses each night. The performances were electrifying, and the collaboration between the diocese, Cathedral, and three other Catholic parishes, the Heartland Youth Choir, professional and Drake University musicians, showed a healthy relationship between the Church and the fine arts in Des Moines.
Did you know that in 2013 there were five choral concerts in the Cathedral? Watch for a Fine Arts series brochure for 2014!
The concert closed with these glorious words of John Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, which was written in 1629, when the poet was just 21 years old. Our Cathedral church was nearly bursting with silver chimes, trumpets, strings, and voices raised in song. Congratulations to all the performers and directors!
Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,
If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
And let the bass of heaven’s deep organ blow;
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.
Such music (as ’tis said)
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,
And the well-balanced world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
Yea, truth and justice then
Will down return to men,
Orbed in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Throned in celestial sheen,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;
And heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.