All posts tagged: Washington National Cathedral

Only Two Kinds of Music

Today is bittersweet, as our Andrew prepares to leave tonight for London and his graduate studies at conservatory. Over the past month, we’ve been savoring both his presence and his music. When we were in California in August, we had the chance to attend the final concert in San Francisco’s 2018 American Bach Soloists’ Summer Bach Festival, the stirring Mass in B Minor.  Andrew joined three other musicians for the Benedictus.  This tenor aria comes near the end of the mass, and Andrew’s beautiful singing was supported by just a flute, cello, and double bass. Then just this past weekend, Andrew had a call to sing the state funeral for U.S. Senator John McCain at the Washington National Cathedral. He had turned in his badge and music at the cathedral, where he most recently was one of the tenors in the men’s choir. But his replacement had not arrived from out-of-town so Andrew had the chance to sing his third state funeral (Reagan and Ford, while a boy chorister, were the others) to go along …

Lenten Litany

At yesterday’s service on the First Sunday in Lent at the Washington National Cathedral, Andrew — a tenor in the men’s choir — was the soloist for the Lenten Litany.  This particular version of the litany was arranged by Canon Michael McCarthy, the Director of Music at the National Cathedral. It is a moving seven minutes of music, to help bring the faithful into an observance of the holy season of Lent.  The solo begins around the 13 minute mark. With blessings for whatever practice you bring to the season. More to come… DJB

Still Singing

(Editor’s Note:  Candice posted the following on her Facebook page earlier today.  I’m putting it here on More to Come… as she wrote it.) In 2001 at the age of 8, Andrew began singing at the Washington National Cathedral as a novice boy chorister. In 5th grade, he joined the boy choristers and went on to become head chorister in 2007. Pictured here is Andrew in 2005 with Leonard Slatkin of the National Symphony Orchestra when Andrew was the treble soloist for the Chichester Psalms. Those were exciting years. Today, Andrew sang for the first time as one of the men of the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. The second picture shows Andrew this morning as the choir was ready to process into the service. It’s been a great ride, Andrew, and we are excited to see where life, your talent, and your dedication takes you next. More to come… DJB

Standing on Shoulders While Looking to the Future

Every four years, when the country gathers to inaugurate a president, some of the nation’s most historic buildings take center stage. From the Benjamin Latrobe-designed St. John’s Church where the First Family attends a morning service, to the White House where the President meets with his successor or the leaders of Congress, to the U.S. Capitol where the Chief Executive takes the oath of office under a magnificent dome largely completed during the darkest days of the Civil War—our nation’s peaceful transfer of power occurs in and around stately buildings that are cherished witnesses to history. And the inauguration ceremonies end the following morning at yet another historic building – Washington National Cathedral – where the nation’s secular and religious leaders gather for the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service. I have attended many different services and ceremonies beneath the Cathedral’s soaring vaults. I remember Evensong services in the great choir where I heard young trebles sing a Pie Jesu that lifted the congregants—all twenty of them—to another level of grace. The sanctuary worked surprisingly well as …

Moving Heaven and Earth

When she was in the fourth grade, my daughter Claire – in response to the question “What Does Your Father Do?” – told her class that I “signed papers and went to meetings.” Today was not that kind of day. With two colleagues from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I joined officials from the Washington National Cathedral on a glorious fall morning to see first hand the extent of the damage from the August 23, 2011 earthquake that hit the east coast.  We were visiting the cathedral as part of ongoing conversations about the restoration and preservation needs of this national landmark. The cathedral’s website has a gallery of amazing photographs that document the damage – from just after the quake until the present.  I encourage you to view it and more importantly make a donation to help rebuild this unique place. On our tour, we viewed the damage from outside the building (including the cracks in the flying buttresses at the historic end of the cathedral), and then traveled up to the very …

Good Friday 2011

It is no surprise to regular readers that one of my favorite services of the year is the Good Friday meditation at the Washington National Cathedral.  I wrote about it in 2009 and again in 2010. Candice, Claire, and I were back this year with two friends joining us for the service.  My blog must be reaching huge numbers as the St. Joseph’s chapel was packed! The music was as contemplative and haunting as ever.  Cathedral Music Director Mike McCarthy was the soloist on his arrangement of the Troparian.  Andrew’s voice teacher, Soprano Diane Atherton, sang the lovely solos that soared above the Taize chants in the vault-like setting of the chapel. We missed having Andrew with us this year, as he’d already attended two Good Friday services and we gave him the night off.  At his school’s chapel he sang a solo on the opening verse of that wonderful spiritual Were You There, and then he was off to his singing gig with St. John’s Lafayette Square for their noon day service. I don’t …

Ave Verum Corpus – Music Made for a Cathedral

Yesterday Andrew and Claire were confirmed in a magnificent service on a beautiful fall day at the National Cathedral. There’s so much I could cover:  The pageantry.  The three bishops.   The time spent with godparents and their families.  The wonderful discernment process that our Assistant Rector, The Rev. Jered Weber-Johnson, led the twins through over the past two years.  The personal thoughts that ranged from a baptismal service with two infants some 17 years ago to confirmation with two beautiful and talented young adults whom I admire for their thoughtfulness and integrity. Instead (no surprise) I want to talk about the music. The Cathedral Singers – comprised of women sopranos and gentlemen in the counter tenor, tenor, and bass roles – were in residence for yesterday’s service.  Their work was beautiful throughout. But when they sang William Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus, I just closed my eyes and listened to the wonderful melodies that come together in that magnificent piece reverberate around in the acoustics.  When they finished, I turned to Claire’s godfather and said, …