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Great Music in a Great Space: Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains to Host The King’s Singers & Kentucky Orchestra

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by Rebecca Sontag

Under the musical direction of Anthony DiCello, St. Peter in Chains Cathedral has sponsored Great Music in a Great Space for nearly a quarter of a century. Now in its 24th year, the concert series boasts four to five performances each season and features artists of the highest caliber, including the cathedral’s own professional choir in addition to regional, national and international ensembles.

Each year, as part of the series, the Advent celebration of Lessons and Carols is performed, as is the exquisite Ancient Office of the Tenebrae featuring the St. Peter in Chains Choir (non ticketed with free-will offerings accepted).

“There is a means of evangelization through this music. Oftentimes it is not what we would sing in our liturgical services, but it has a great spiritual value to it. When the music is performed so beautifully, just as these ensembles do, it moves people in a very profound way. It is an extension of our faith and a way to bring people to the church,” said DiCello.

On Feb. 19, the tremendous bronze doors of St. Peter in Chains Cathedral will swing wide, once again welcoming The King’s Singers, a six-man a cappella choral ensemble from Cambridge, England, and the hundreds of audience members who come to hear them perform. The unamplified voices, pure in tone and seamlessly blended, will fill the vaulted space with a vast array of compositions as they explore how harmony has developed through time and how it varies from place to place.

The evening’s program, entitled “Evolution,” covers 500 years of Western harmonic tradition and also explores other forms of harmony found far outside the Western canon.

On Feb. 23, the Cathedral Choir and the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra will join to present Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor, one of classical music’s most loved works. As most concerts in the series are a cappella, this provides a unique opportunity to bask in the full-spectrum tonal luxury only a full orchestra enjoined with human voice can afford.

Inside the cathedral on these concert days, you’ll find many different kinds of people: different ages, different cultures, different religions and different beliefs. But they are all lovers of music, champions of beauty and seekers of revelatory truth.

Standing erect with a controlled and metered countenance, the cathedral, crowned with its single, austere spire, provides a steady and immutable presence in Downtown Cincinnati, standing witness to the faith. What it holds inside – dazzling mosaics, gleaming and polished woodwork and stone, flanks of imposing columns, and spiralled staircases leading to more delightful discoveries and nooks – works to the same end. That is, it articulates the richness of the Catholic Church and all she holds true using a vocabulary far beyond the spoken word. As with “Great Music in a Great Space,” music and art serve to deliver the message of God’s goodness and truth, by opening the ears, dazzling the eyes and stirring the soul.

“You can just see them during intermission! They’re walking all around and looking at all the artwork on the walls and ceiling. Their mouths are open and you can see them pointing upwards saying, ‘Look! How beautiful!,’” said DiCello.

For ticket and concert information, please visit www.stpeterinchainscathedral.org or call 513-421-2222.

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