30 Years of Cathedral Concerts

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Our 2014 Cathedral Concerts are barely more than a week away.

cathedral interior

Interior Photography of the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Photo by Pedro Szekely.

Did you know the Salt Lake Children’s Choir sang in the Cathedral of the Madeleine for the first time 30 years ago in 1984?   Here’s how Ralph B. Woodward, founder and director, remembers that concert:

It has occurred to me that this December marks the 30th Anniversary of our choir’s first performance in the Cathedral of the Madeleine.  We were still rather new then, and, of course, in awe of the Cathedral.  However, I thought the Cathedral would be the ideal setting for a wonderful work my father had performed at Brigham Young University back in 1955 ( just a couple of years following the work’s actual creation).  The piece, “Une Cantate de Noel” (or Christmas Story) by Swiss Composer, Arthur Honegger calls for full orchestra, mixed choir, baritone soloist, children’s choir, and organ.  I loved the piece – particularly the thrilling way the children’s voices were employed.  Now that I directed a children’s choir and since my father (now retired from BYU) still had the Ralph Woodward Chorale (a fine community ensemble),  I decided to approach Dr. David Dalton, then conductor of the Salt Lake Symphony about a joint performance.  He responded favorably and the orchestra later did, as well.  The next task was to approach then Cathedral Rector, M. Francis Mannion, about the idea–which he fully embraced. At the time, he was interested in opening up the cathedral to more community cultural events, and this suggestion came at the perfect time.

So, on Sunday, Dec. 2, 1984, the program was presented as follows:  

The Salt Lake Symphony, directed by Dr. Dalton opened the evening with the sublime “Adagio in G Minor” for strings and organ by Tomaso Albinoni.  We, The Salt Lake Children’s Choir, then gave unaccompanied  performances of the several carols which would later appear during the course of the Honegger work.  This was then followed by a very stirring performance of Arthur Honegger’s “Une Cantate de Noel,” conducted by my father, Dr. Ralph Woodward.  It was a glorious event for all present, and a wonderful beginning to our long association with the Cathedral of the Madeleine. 

Please join us this year to enjoy this beautiful Salt Lake tradition.  December 5 & 7th, 8:00 P.M. at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.