A CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS
CORPUS CHRISTI CATHEDRAL
Pontifical Chorale ~ Youth Chorale
Choristers ~ Handbell Choir
Lee Gwozdz Organ
Guadalupe Rivera Jr. Conductor
"...the Corpus Christi folks are very fine indeed, the choirs very solid...and the instrumentalists excellent. The reverb in [Corpus Christi Cathedral] is about 4-5 seconds, so it was probably not an easy place to record in, but the engineers did a fine job... there is much to enjoy here. Who knew such mighty sounds emanate from Corpus Christi?"
Steve Ritter, Audiophile Audition - December 2010
"There are a few curiosities in the music. It is not at all a traditional Christmas program. A resounding ‘Gloria’ by Randol Alan Bass, full of romantic harmonies, begins the program. A brass and handbell-laden ‘Arise, Your Light Has Come’ by David Danner is indeed aurally luminous. ‘Lost in the Night’ arranged by Kyle S Haugen and a delicate ‘Ave Maria’ by Javier Busto glow with inner fire. There is a delicate beauty in Mack Wilberg’s arrangements of ‘The First Nowell’ and ‘Away in the Manger’ followed by his grandiose arrangements of ‘Carol to the King’ and ‘Joy to the World’... A jazzy arrangement by Mark Hayes of ‘Mary, Go Tell It on the Mountain” gets the feet a-tapping. John Rutter’s ‘Carol of the Children’ and Herbert Howell’s ‘Magnificat’ return to the delicate, mystic mood... It’s a religious program right up to the final two of the 15 selections—rollicking, grand arrangements by Bass of ‘Deck the Halls’ and ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. The Pontifical Chorale, Youth Chorale, Choristers, Handbell Choir, and Festival Orchestra combine to rousing effect, with a rich dark sound.... The Cathedral’s repertoire and musical forces are a treasure rare."
American Record Guide - November/December 2010
"A Cathedral Christmas illustrates the big, glorious sound that is only possible when you have a very large choir, backed up by sufficient instrumental forces to make a grand impression. In this case, the numbers are Texas-sized, the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas to be exact. Assistant music director Guadalupe Rivera, Jr. conducts...a sumptuous program. It all begins with a magnificent Gloria in excelsis Deo, followed by The First Nowell in a persuasive new setting by Mack Wilberg, whose Carol to the King, heard later in the program, builds to a splendid crescendo blending voices with an augmented brass section including double horns and trombones, triple trumpets, bass trombone and tuba. Other selections include a poignant Lost in the Night, Ave Maria; Mary, did You Know? And Herbert Howells’ regal setting of the Magnificat. Wilberg’s settings of Away in a Manger and Joy to the World add new luster to old holiday favorites. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing and Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella are of true professional chorale quality. Arise, your Light has Come deftly uses the music from the old German chorale Wachet auf, while Mary, Go Tell It neatly segues into the spiritual Go, Tell It on the Mountain. Two last Bass arrangements, Deck the Halls and We Wish You a Merry Christmas conclude a deeply satisfying program.”
Audio Video Club of Atlanta - December 2009
The Cathedral Youth Chorale and Cathedral Choristers are made up of young men and women in Grades 4 through 12 from throughout the Coastal Bend, who serve more than four hours weekly for a period of nine months. Totaling more than 90 singers, this choir ministers at the main Sunday Mass. Both choirs have gained a national reputation through their several professional recordings and numerous presentations at National Pastoral Musicians regional conventions held in Dallas, Orlando and in Orange County. In the summer of 2008, the choirs had the honor of singing on July 4th at the White House to open the National Independence Day Parade. They also participated in the National Pueri Cantores Festival with other Catholic choirs from throughout the nation, singing at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. Upon receiving an invitation from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, both choirs will sing for the International Pueri Cantores Festival to be held at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in December 2010. Both choirs are featured on Lee Gwozdz’s Singing FUNdamentals educational videos, have appeared in concert presentations with the Corpus Christi Symphony and are also featured artists on the Cathedral Concert Series.
Lee Gwozdz (Organist) serves as Director of Music for Corpus Christi Cathedral, and as Executive Director of the Cathedral Concert Series, posts he has held for 24 years. Constantly engaged as a festival conductor and workshop clinician, Gwozdz’s workshop presentations, primarily in the area of his work with children’s choirs, have taken place in more than 100 cities throughout the US. His trademark and educational venture entitled “Singing FUNdamentals” includes a Toy Box, DVD and Video. Highly sought after as a clinician for children’s voices and conductor of children’s choir festivals, Mr. Gwozdz has expanded his reputation as a leading Adult Choir Festival Clinician. In 2004, he was voted “Musician of the Year” by more than 10,000 of colleagues from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and in 1987 was chosen to conduct the 500-voice choir and orchestra for the Papal Mass held in San Antonio. In 1993, he served as conductor of the Papal Mass in Denver, conducting more than 700 young singers for the International World Youth Day Festival. Mr. Gwozdz graduated from Texas Christian University where he studied organ with renowned organist Emmet Smith, receiving a BME with a minor in organ performance. While at TCU, Lee undertook summer studies with world renowned organists and composers, some of whom included Jean Langlais, Maurice Duruflé and Flor Peeters.
Guadalupe Rivera, Jr. (Conductor) is currently the Interim Assistant Director of Music at the Corpus Christi Cathedral, a position he has held since Fall 2008.Mr. Rivera served as Assistant Conductor of the Turtle Creek Chorale in Dallas under Dr. Tim Seelig, and was also the Resident Guest Conductor for the Cathedral Midnight Mass celebrations and the annual Holiday Cathedral Spectacular, Gloria In Excelsis Deo! In February 2006, he was the assistant conductor at Carnegie Hall in the performance of Sing For the Cure: A Proclamation of Hope, and later in the year conducted for famed choral composer Morten Lauridsen. In the summers of 2006 and 2007, he conducted at the Oregon Bach Festival under renowned conductor and Bach scholar Helmuth Rilling. Mr. Rivera, a native of Corpus Christi and former member of the Pontifical Chorale, received his Bachelor of Music Education from Texas Christian University in 1996, where he studied with Ronald Shirey and the late Dr. Ruth Whitlock. In that year, Mr. Rivera also studied with Robert Shaw at Carnegie Hall. He subsequently completed his MM in Performance in Choral Conducting at the University of North Texas in 2005, where he studied with Dr. Jerry McCoy. Mr. Rivera has completed all coursework and requirements for the Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in Choral Conducting under the supervision of Dr. Bruce Chamberlain at the University of Arizona, where he conducted the Kantorei Chamber Choir and Recital Choir, and served as Assistant Conductor of the University Community Chorus. Mr. Rivera is in demand as an adjudicator, guest conductor and clinician. As a high school educator, his choirs received “Superior” and ”Excellent” ratings at area choral contests and has seen his students participate in the ACDA National Honor Choirs and TMEA All-State Choirs.
Gloria (Randol Alan Bass)
The First Nowell (arr. Mack Wilberg)
Lost in the Night (arr. Kyle S. Haugen)
Arise, Your Light Has Come (David Danner)
Ave Maria (Javier Busto)
Mary, Did You Know? (B.Greene; M.Lowry)
Magnificat Collegium Regale (H.Howells)
Away in a Manger (Kirkpatrick, arr. Wilberg)
Carol to the King (French, arr. Wilberg)
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing / Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella (arr. Robert Shaw / Robert Russell Bennett)
Carol of the Children (John Rutter)
Mary, Go Tell It! (arr. Mark Hayes)
Joy to the World (Handel, arr. Wilberg)
Deck the Halls (arr. R.A.Bass)
We Wish You a Merry Christmas (arr. Bass)