Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Cathedral Choir To Present Lenten Program For Haiti

Published March 4, 2010

The Cathedral of Christ the King will present its Cathedral Choir in the second of three Lenten musical programs to raise funds for the disaster victims of Haiti. On Friday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m., the choir will present a blending of sight and sound in their presentation of “Visions of the Cross, Musical Meditations on the Way of the Cross.”

All proceeds from the program will go directly to Catholic Relief Services earmarked for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Kevin Culver, CTK choirmaster, said that the news stories and pictures of the human tragedy and devastation from Haiti inspired Christ the King’s musicians to become more involved in the relief efforts. Culver noted that “we felt that these concerts could be an opportunity for the Choir to not only offer their musical prayers but to highlight in some small way the ongoing need of continued relief efforts. The initial news cycle kept the people of Haiti in our minds and hearts for a couple of weeks, but now as the images have begun to fade from our daily consciousness, it is important to remind ourselves of the continued need for our efforts, prayers, dollars and song.”

The Stations of the Cross, one of the most popular Lenten Catholic devotions, has also inspired artists both visual and musical, for centuries. It is said that the object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death. The origins of the Stations as a devotional practice are traced to the Holy Land. The route Christ traveled from the place of sentencing to Calvary has been marked since the earliest days of Christianity.

The Cathedral Choir’s meditation on the Stations consists of a series of musical “illuminations” as well as large projections at each stop on the “Way of the Cross.” The projections for each of the 14 Stations are drawn from the works of master Renaissance painters of the late 15th to early 16th century. Kelly Morris, of the High Museum of Art, and a frequent collaborator with the Cathedral Choir, has gathered for reflection a series of moving images of Christ’s journey to the cross. Likewise, the music for the program reflects the varied and diverse qualities of Lenten music from simple ancient chants to starkly beautiful contemporary settings.

Culver noted that “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 by Byrd and Palestrina, and 18th-century Baroque masterpieces by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Lotti and the imaginative sounds of 20th-century contemporary composers like Arvo Part and Francis Poulenc work together in this musical representation to create a timeless fabric of sound and emotion.” The program will culminate with a deeply moving arrangement of the powerful American spiritual “Were You There?” by Alice Parker.

This combination of imposing image and text with masterful music was the primary reason Christ the King started these Lenten musical meditations eight years ago.

“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,” said Culver. “We wanted to capture some of this movement through emotional and liturgical time with this special presentation. The simple hour-long structure contains a moving blend of word, image and sound, and each Station discovers a different focus and flavor for reflection.”

The Cathedral offers traditional spoken Stations of the Cross at 6:30 p.m. on the Fridays of Lent and the special “Visions of the Cross – Musical Meditations” follow at 7:30 p.m. on March 12.  All are welcome to attend. Donations and offerings will be given to Catholic Relief Services and will be earmarked for Haitian relief. The Cathedral is located at 2699 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. Ample parking is available.