Music at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist strives to enhance the Cathedral’s Sacred Liturgy. The music serves to facilitate meditation upon the Sacred Mystery of Christ’s dying, rising and coming again, and participation in his gift of the Eucharistic Banquet. As the music serves the Mass, so does its texts, melodies, harmonies, rhythms, moods and colors attend to the Rituals they accompany.
All Cathedrals, being their Bishop’s Church, are charged with a responsibility of modeling liturgical and sacramental practices for not only the diocesan parishes, but for the entire collective community. Unique for a small city, Charleston has become a major travel destination for work and leisure, and as much as a quarter of a liturgy’s congregation may be visitors and guests. The emphasis, in keeping with Vatican directives, is on the Universal Church.
Regardless of a particular style, God and His people are offered the best liturgical music the Cathedral can prepare. The Cathedral’s gamut of music ranges from Gregorian Chant to ethnic song, and from historic and traditional literature to modern choral repertoire. Use of the Cathedral’s internationally-recognized Bedient Opus 22 Tracker Pipe Organ is standard at every Liturgy, and the 11:15 am Mass on Sunday morning is accompanied by the Cathedral Choir. There is, as well, a routine instrumental palette of brass ensemble and soloists.
Although the music program is almost completely volunteer, 20-40 choristers provide music every week, year-round. The Congregation of Cathedral, Diocese, Visitors and Guests are offered, through a weaving of unique but distinctly Catholic Cathedral liturgical music, an opportunity to participate intently in the journey of the Mass through both singing and listening.
director of music and principal organist: Scott Turkington
associate organist: Larry Long