Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Cathedral Offers Friday Evening Lenten Music Series

Published February 23, 2006

The Cathedral of Christ the King will present a series of Lenten musical meditations designed to deepen and enhance the impact and devotions of the season. The performances will be held on each of the five Fridays of Lent, March 3-April 7.

Traditionally, the Fridays of Lent have been a special time of fasting and reflection. And throughout the ages musicians have created some of the most extraordinary music ever written for the various celebrations that take place during Lent.

On Friday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m., the first of these programs will feature Christ the King’s Cathedral Choir in a simple Choral Vespers. Three vocal works written specifically for the celebration of evening prayer will be presented. Carl Crosier’s “Processional for Lucenarium” is a piece designed to accompany the “service of light” (the ritual lighting of candles) that opens the program.

The singing of psalms is at the heart of the liturgy, and the choir will sing two extraordinarily powerful settings of Psalms 130 and 51 by Seattle-based composer Peter Hallock. Vespers concludes with the singing of the “Song of Mary,” the Magnificat, by Lithuanian composer Arvo Part. This deeply mystical piece finds its origins in chant, and its simplicity of means and gesture reflects the perfect tone for Lenten evening meditation.

This combination of imposing ritual texts with masterful music was the primary reason Christ the King decided to start these Lenten Musical Meditations, said Kevin Culver, choirmaster at the Cathedral.

“The season of Lent, as reflected in the procession of readings and liturgies from Sunday to Sunday and week to week, has such a dramatic movement and pace,” he said. “We wanted to capture some of this movement through emotional and liturgical time with these special Friday evening presentations. Each evening has a moving blend of word and sound, and each evening discovers a different focus and flavor to this reflective season.”

Culver notes that the other presentations of the series will also feature musical responses to the texts and meaning of the season.

On March 10 the Cathedral’s Contemporary Ensemble will present a Procession of Lenten Readings and Carols; on March 17, Cathedral organist Dr. Timothy Wissler, along with guest harpist and organist Rhett Barnwell, will present a program featuring music for the season for organ, harp and voice. On March 24, Ken and Elyn Macek, long-time leaders of the Cathedral’s Contemporary Ensemble and of weekly evening prayer at Christ the King, will travel the Stations of the Cross.

On March 31 the Cathedral Choir will present Visions of the Cross, a series of musical illuminations on the 14 Stations of the Cross. For this program the stations will be visually depicted by large projections at each stop on the Way of the Cross. The music for this program reflects the varied and diverse qualities of Lenten music from simple ancient chants to starkly beautiful contemporary settings.

“It is a testament to the powerful imagery and impact of the Stations that settings so diverse as medieval chant, 16th- and 17th-century polyphony, 18th-century baroque and 20th-century contemporary composers work seamlessly in this musical representation creating a timeless fabric of sound and emotion,” Culver said.

The series culminates with Mary Rogers’ Journey to the Cross, a powerful musical prayer service reflecting on Christ’s Passion and sacrifice. Over the years this beautiful and moving service has become an annual Cathedral tradition.

“All of this music was created to serve a dramatic function within a liturgical framework and belongs in a holy space,” Culver said. “We hope this series can bring this music, that is at the heart of the Lenten season, into the hearts of all those who come into contact with it.”

All programs begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be preceded by simple Lenten suppers, which will be served between 6 and 6:45 p.m. in the parish hall. Donations will be accepted at the door. The Cathedral is located at 2699 Peachtree Road. Ample parking is available.

For more information call (404) 233-2145, ext. 470.