December 10, 2009

The Joy of Christmas Concert Weekend


Saturday, December 12, 2009 at noon*
Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 4 pm
Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 4 pm

Featuring the The Heritage Signature Chorale and the world premiere of a Christmas carol by the renowned American composer Lee Hoiby. A perennial holiday favorite from the opening procession accompanied by the Great Organ to the Cathedral carillon and the beloved carols old and new, this festive concert has long been a Washington family tradition and is often sold out.

*Again this year, we offer a special family matinee on Saturday, December 12 at noon. Bring the whole family for this hour-long presentation of the Joy of Christmas specially designed for our younger fans. Seating is by general admission.

Cathedral Choral Society, J. Reilly Lewis, conductor
The Heritage Signature Chorale, Stanley J. Thurston, music director
Scott Dettra, organ
Edward Nassor, carillon
Treble Choir of Northern Middle School, Nicholas Petersen, music director

Tickets starting at $20
Click here for Prelude - CCS study guide

November 12, 2009

Lord & Taylor Benefit Bash!

CCS participated in the Lord & Taylor Benefit Bash on Tuesday, November 19th at the Washington location on Western Avenue in Northwest. As you may have read, we have been selling tickets to this event since October. With our singers, staff and friends rallying, we raised thousands of dollars for CCS! Representatives from over 30 local non-profit organizations sold tickets at the door in support of each other.CCS singers performed a few pieces in the evening and met with shoppers.  The event was a huge success, and raised awareness and money for several worthy causes. A $1,000 dollar bonus will be awarded to the top pre-sale ticket seller, so stay tuned!

In the mean time, here are a few photos from the event!


November 6, 2009

NEA to Receive $12.5 Million Budget Increase

Yesterday, the House and Senate each approved $12.5 million increases for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The FY 2010 Interior Appropriations Bill sets budgets for the two federal grant-making cultural agencies at $167.5 million each. President Obama will sign the bill into law by October 31. With the President's signature, the NEA will be funded at its highest level in 16 years. “For nearly 45 years the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded grants to support a network of 5,000 local, state, and regional arts agencies that serve as the infrastructure of support for the arts and arts education in America,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “This important budget increase recognizes the essential role the arts play in our lives, schools, and communities. This funding boost also serves as a warm welcome to the new NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman as he kicks off his nationwide ‘Art Works’ tour next week.” Read his full statement in the press room. For more information about this important legislation and to contact your member of Congress, visit the Online Arts Action Center. source: Americans for the Arts

October 30, 2009

Composing Concertos in the key of RX

Our resident feline office-mate, Katherine, appears to have an upper-respiratory infection. We noticed a hacking cough and assumed a hair ball. Katherine paid a visit to the Friendship Heights Animal Hospital who determined that she has a small infection causing the cough, and may be developing asthma. 

Fear not, Katherine fans. She is a part of the Cathedral library family and well looked after. She is begrudgingly taking an oral antibiotic, and with a few days inside, should be just fine. Her current condition got me thinking about an article published in the New York Times back in March discussing the effects of music as a healing agent that I'd like to share with you. Perhaps all Katherine needs is a little Mozart...

October 23, 2009

Washington Post Gives Rave Review


In performance: Verdi Requiem

Lewis leads sublime "Requiem"
by Cecelia Porter

In his apocalyptic “Requiem,” Giuseppe Verdi grasps the sublime. As is often said, this monumental mass for the dead offers most of the trappings and grandeur of his operas. To celebrate his 25th season as director of the Cathedral Choral Society, J. Reilly Lewis led his premier chorus, vocal soloists and orchestra in a magnificent performance of the Requiem at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday.
(read more after the jump)
Lewis missed none of the music’s terrifying juxtaposition of heaven and hell — a parallel to the emotions and conflict depicted in opera between virtuous heroine and evil villain. And he led the chorus delicately from the hushed tones of “rest in peace” (Requiem aeternam) into the solo ensemble’s passionate Kyrie. Verdi sets the ancient Latin text with the rhythmic pulse of spoken Italian, injecting the often stupefying words with all the fire and fury of the stage. He underlines moments of serene consolation with the soaring lyricism of an opera aria. It’s just this profoundly human quality Verdi gives to the religious text that Lewis made supremely evident on Sunday.
The singers delivered the “Dies Irae” of the Last Judgment with the searing ferocity of a lightning bolt — recalling the lurid, wrenching extremes that Hieronymous Bosch depicted on canvas. The solo trio lent the “Lux Aeterna” a lustrous tenderness. And except for a few pitch problems in more exposed ensembles, soprano Lise Lindstrom, mezzo Ann McMahon Quintero, tenor Thomas Poole and bass Wayne Tigges offered glowing accounts of their demanding roles.
--Cecelia Porter

October 16, 2009

Verdi Requiem Concert Weekend

Giuseppe Verdi
Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 4 pm

Cathedral Choral Society
Dr. J. Reilly Lewis, conductor

It has been called the most operatic of all religious music. And no wonder; Verdi’s Requiem is as fired with passion, as overflowing with melodies as any of his operas. And with the same grand range of emotions, from its earth-shattering Dies Irae to the ethereal Agnus Dei, this is music that invades the heart and shakes the soul.

Join us at 2:30 pm for a free pre-concert discussion in Perry Auditorium (7th Floor of the Cathedral) with Paul Bachmann, a classical music specialist at SiriusXM.

Be sure to stop-by near the Rear Nave section before and after the concert.  Tickets will be available for the Lord and Taylor Benefit Bash on 11/10/09 ($5) plus find out about a special event taking place at the Barnes and Noble in Georgetown on 11/19/09.  We'll also have CDs of our latest recording available for purchase (Argento's Evensong: Of Love and Angels, $16).

Presented in partnership with:

Click here for Prelude - CCS study guide

October 9, 2009

October Is National Arts & Humanities Month

National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) is a coast-to-coast collective celebration of culture in America. Held every October and coordinated by Americans for the Arts, it is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. From arts center open houses to mayoral proclamations to banners and media coverage, communities across the United States join together to recognize the importance of arts and culture in our daily lives.

Courtesy of Americans For The Arts

October 1, 2009

Assasins Creed 2

Our distinguished director of administration is a rock star. He received degrees in vocal performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College and the University of Iowa. His voice was recently featured in a video game and now, we share his voice with you, in the exciting trailer of..... ASSASSIN'S CREED 2!

September 30, 2009

The Magic Flute

As a choral organization, we feel it is only right to give a shout-out to Herr Mozart....

On this day in 1791 Mozart's revered opera, The Magic Flute premiered in Vienna, Austria. 

The Magic Flute is noted for its Masonic elements and Mozart himself was a Freemason. The opera is also influenced by philosophy of the Enlightenment era. The Queen of the night represents a dangerous darkening and prevention of facts and was debuted by Mozart's own sister-in-law, the virtuosic soprano Josepha Hofer. Her antagonist, Sarastro symbolizes the sovereign leader who rules with wisdom and enlightened insight.

Mozart conducted the orchestra himself. Mozart Scholar Maynard Solomon writes of the premier:

"Although there were no reviews of the first performances, it was immediately evident that Mozart and Schikaneder had achieved a great success, the opera drawing immense crowds and reaching hundreds of performances during the 1790's."

September 29, 2009

Choruses Lead the Way!

We all understand the power of music. You don't have to make a career of performing to be a "musician." Music touches all of us through radio, concerts, church, movies.. even cell phone ring tones. Whether you like it or not, music is all around us. Did you know that approximately 32 MILLION Americans sing in a choir? Take a look at this video, referred to us by our music director J. Reilly Lewis, showcasing the many ways choral music in particular can enrich our lives, education and the quality of our community. Enjoy the CBS Sunday Morning piece, and look closely to see some familiar CCS faces!

September 23, 2009

Benefit Bash!

 Shop to support the 
Cathedral Choral Society!

Tuesday, NOVEMBER 10th: 
CCS supporters can shop at the Washington/Chevy Chase and White Flint Lord and Taylor locations to benefit the Cathedral Choral Society! Tickets for store-wide discounts are on sale in the CCS office for $5 each, or 5 for $20. Tickets are also available at CCS rehearsals and concerts! You will receive a discount coupon for 20% off a single sale or full-priced item, and 15% off your entire purchase. These discounts have little to no exclusions! Make-up, fragrances, designer hand bags and suits are all eligible! CCS retains 100% profit from ticket sales, and a portion of sales at the door – so be sure to spread the word! Remember – more shoppers = more money to CCS! The top 2 sellers will receive an additional check from Lord and Taylor for $1,000! Please help us make this event successful!

*Tickets may only be redeemed at White Flint and Washington/Chevy Chase locations  

Call Victoria at (202) 537-5526 for tickets or questions.

September 18, 2009

Complete with Music!

Do we arrive "Out of the Box" complete with musical ability?

Click on the header of this post and watch as Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale using audience participation.

September 17, 2009

Staying Connected

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
        Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986

With an unprecedented number of new ways to communicate with our singers, patrons and supporters, CCS is responding to demand. We can be found on Twitter and Facebook - and  now here on Blogspot. We are very excited to offer an informal elaboration on news, special events, our concert program, music history and even the occasional photo of Katherine the Cat. CCS is a vibrant and current organization, committed to making the most of the world around us. In these troubling times, it becomes even more important to stay connected to the people who make us great. This year marks an incredible milestone for CCS, and we are brimming with excitement. We will celebrate 25 years with music director J. Reilly Lewis. Stay tuned for news about concerts, events, and special ways to celebrate this momentous occasion.

With the world moving so quickly, it's important to look around and make sure we make the most of the opportunities around us. With that, welcome to our blog, and a unique look into the Cathedral Choral Society.