Jace writes from Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Last night was, by most measures, a fantastic success. The Cathedral of St. Joseph sits on top of a hill on the edge of the downtown area here in Sioux Falls. It is huge, majestic, well-lit, and visible for miles in every direction. It would be right at home in any town of commensurate size in Austria or Germany, and the interior was no less wonderful. The cathedral has been reopened after a recent renovation, and is covered with Italian marble. The community is, rightfully, very proud of the cathedral.
The program we sang (sacred Venetian Renaissance music) was very well received by the audience, which was completely sold out. The acoustic was superb for this program, and the crowd seemed to know exactly what they were in for. Lots of students in the house, too, which is always nice to see. We were told several high school choirs were represented, as well as a large number of collegiate music students from South Dakota State University and South Dakota University. Before the concert, Gregory and I worked with two ensembles who are in residence at the Cathedral, who were working on Renaissance motets and plainchant. Each group was well informed and worked hard--we were happy to hear so much beautiful music being made at such a high level here.
Meanwhile in San Francisco, "Sing With Haiti" of which Chanticleer alum Philip Wilder is Artistic and Executive Director took place at Grace Cathedral with a stellar group of musicians headed by opera stars Deborah Voigt and Susan Graham, along with the children from Haiti. Our Education Director Ben Johns was charged with conducting the opening tutti number which consisted of 300 high school choral singers ( including LAB 9) spread up and down the aisle and all over. He did a nice job, we're told, keeping it all together. LAB then had the nice opportunity of standing behind Susan Graham to sing Mozart's Laudate Dominum.