In Your Midst

The Cathedral’s Youth Music Program
in the New Millennium

Fall 2000

Jubilate Deo, omnis terra.
Make a joyful noise to God,
all the earth,
O sing to the glory of God’s name,
O render God glorious praise.

Psalm 66

Young people are at the heart of Setting Our Path, the Cathedral’s new vision statement for the third millennium. As the Great Jubilee Year 2000 draws to a close, more children and young people make St. James their spiritual home than ever before. That increase calls for a new emphasis on ministry for and with children, especially through the Cathedral’s already strong religious education and youth music programs.

In This Issue:
Ever since its revival several years ago, the Schola Cantorum (or “School of Singers”) has been the premiere choir of the Youth Music Program at St. James Cathedral. During those years the singers of the Schola Cantorum, with their director, Kelly Foster Griffin, have built an extensive musical resume. They have sung with the Cathedral Choir at events like New Year’s Eve and Great Music for Great Cathedrals; they have been the principal choir at major liturgies like the Vigil Mass of Christmas, as well as Archdiocesan celebrations with Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett such as Chrism Mass. In 1998 they released their own CD, A Cathedral Christmas with the Schola Cantorum (a bestseller in the Cathedral Bookstore). They have also performed with noted area ensembles, including Opus 7 in their sold-out performances of Benjamin Britten’s cantata, St. Nicholas. With its two training choirs for younger children, the St. Cecilia Choir and the St. Gregory Singers, the Schola Cantorum is an active and integral part of the Cathedral’s musical life.

Gaining that kind of experience takes time; and as the Schola Cantorum has grown, many of its original members have grown up. As the 2000-2001 season began, Kelly Foster Griffin found herself with a group of talented young singers, who (at 16-18) had become too mature for the Schola Cantorum, but who were still eager to be involved in Cathedral music. With Dr. James Savage, the Cathedral’s Director of Liturgy and Music, she developed the idea for a new learning choir, a place for these “graduates” of the Schola Cantorum to continue learning and singing.

Jubilate! gives these singers (all young women) a new home in the Cathedral’s music program. The new ensemble will allow them to continue to sing the great sacred music which they learned in the Schola Cantorum, and it will challenge them with new music as well — works like Britten’s Missa Brevis, “one of the gems of the treble repertoire of the twentieth century, an extremely technically demanding piece,” says Clint Kraus, Assistant Cathedral Organist and Administrator of the Youth Music Program. “But these young women have already proven they’re capable of it.” The new choir is directed by Kelly Foster Griffin, assisted by Christina Siemens, a local soprano soloist and accompanist who has joined the music staff this fall to help with the new ensemble.

Jubilate! premiered at the ten o’clock Mass on Sunday, October 1, joining the men of the Cathedral Choir and the Schola Cantorum to sing works by Bach and Biebl. “It was a very moving experience for the men of the Cathedral Choir,” says Dr. Savage, “to see that the great legacy of music in the service of the Church being carried on by another generation. We can know that the Schola Cantorum is doing its job when it produces such mature liturgical musicians.” Dr. Savage hopes that Jubilate! will become a bridge between the Schola Cantorum and the adult choirs, the Women of the St. James Schola and the Cathedral Choir of St. James.

But there is still work to be done. “With Jubilate! we’ve found a place for the young women who have come through the Schola Cantorum,” Dr. Savage says. “The next step will be to find a place for the young men with changed voices, committed musicians who want to sing here at the Cathedral but who are not ready for the Cathedral Choir.” As we enter the third millennium, the Youth Music Program will continue to grow and develop in response to the needs of the young people of the Cathedral community, seeking new ways for them to be involved in music and in the Church.

To find out more about the Cathedral’s Youth Music Program, including information about openings, please contact the Liturgy and Music Office, 206/382-4874.

Corinna Laughlin is Coordinator for the Jubilee Year at St. James Cathedral.

Founding Members of Jubilate!: Sarah Boucher, Daelin Guieb, Annie Herring, Maureen Hutchins, Barbara Martin, Mari Moroles, Hannah Peragine, Wilhelmina Peragine, Pamela Presto, Catherine Prezbindowski, Melanie Reichert, Bridgid Roney, Geneva Stein, Becky Stein, Emily White, Kelly Foster Griffin, Director

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