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Episode No. 80 Marian Music for the Month of May

 Guest Host David Ball takes us on a musical journey of Marian Music – from some of the oldest written hymns to classic Romantic-era solo works to well-known choral settings. Joining David is composer and friend of the show Daniel Ficarri. A recent graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, Daniel Ficarri speaks from the heart of a composer about the inspiring nature of Marian texts, and shares with us his own Ave Maria – a radio premiere and exclusive to Music from the Tower! Featured alongside Ficarri’s stunning new Ave Maria are classics including the Schubert, Bach-Gounod, and Biebl settings; and some lesser-known, yet equally gorgeous settings by living composers Anna Jacobs, Cecilia McDowall, James Biery, and John Rutter.


Episode No. 79 Easter 2020, An Easter Like No Other

Four Cathedral Musicians talk about what it was like to prepare for Holy Week, Triduum and Easter Sunday without congregations, without instrumentalists, with a limited number of singers and in some cases just an organ and cantor. The Corona virus has given the church an Easter like none of us have ever experienced before. Enjoy this fascinating look into the planning (and replanning) that it took to make Easter 2020 come alive in four of the nations most important cathedrals:

Christ Cathedral, Orange California Dr. John A Romeri, Director of Music and David L. Ball, Assistant Director of Music and Cathedral Organist
Christ Our Light Cathedral, Oakland California Dr. Rudy De Vos, Director of Music and Organist
St. Thomas More Cathedral, Arlington Virginia Dr. Richard Gibala, Director of Music and Organist
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC Dr. Peter Latona, Director of Music and Organist

MUSIC: Haec Dies John Shepherd (1515 – 1558) Christ Cathedral (6 staff singers) John Romeri, conductor
MUSIC: Alleluia Randall Thompson Christ Our Light Cathedral (8 staff singers) Rudy De Vos, conductor
MUSIC: The Lord Will Reign Forever James Biery St. Thomas More Cathedral (recorded before Corona with their Cathedral Choir) Richard Gibala, conductor
MUSIC: Christ our Passover, Peter Latona The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (5 singers) Peter Latona, conductor
MUSIC: In The Father’s Glory Peter Latona The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (5 singers) Peter Latona, conductor

ARTICLE: The Music of the Easter Season: Adapting to the Challenges of Coronavirus Dr. Peter Latona



Episode No 78 Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Dr. John Romeri, David Ball on a special episode of “Sounds from the Spire”. Dr. Pascual from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, interviews the musicians of American’s newest Cathedral.

Hear a fascinating visit with three of the busiest Church Musicians in the country. St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Cathedral in Orange California are no doubt two of the wildest places on earth. Lots of people, parishioners and tourists, pour into these great cathedrals for many masses each weekend. John and David has been musical team since David was in high school back in their St. Louis Cathedral days. Hear some wonderful music from the choirs of Christ Cathedral, some great organ playing by David Ball, and even a surprise piece from the Papal visit in 1999 in St. Louis!

MUSIC: Te Deum Rachel Lauren David Ball, organist Cathedral Brass, John Romeri, Conductor
MUSIC: Let the People Praise Thee. William Mathias. Cathedral Choirs and Orchestra, John Romeri, Conductor
MUSIC: Paean. Herbert Howells. David Ball, Organist
MUSIC: Hic est vere martyr. Sebastian de Vivanco arr. David Ball. Cathedral Schola, John Romeri, Conductor
MUSIC: Festival Alleluia James Chepponis 1999 Papal Visit to St. Louis. Archdiocesan Choirs and Orchestra. Schoot Kennebeck, Cantor, John Romeri, Conductor
MUSIC: Dieu Parmi Nous. Olivier Messiaen David Ball, Organist
MUSIC: I Was Glad. Herbert H Parry. Cathedral Choirs and Orchestra, John Romeri, Conductor


Episode No. 77 Dr. Joe Miller, Conductor of Westminster Choir and head of the Choral Department, and Dr Marshall Onofrio, Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Westminster Choir College, Princeton.

As Westminster Choir celebrates its 100th Anniversary you will hear from its present conductor, Dr. Joe Miller and the Dean of the Choir College about the rich history of these 100 years. The great tradition of John Finley Williamson and Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt is the foundation of this great legacy now continued into the next century by Dr. Miller. He will give an explanation of the anniversary tour program and the significance of the pieces which he chose. Also hear about the future projects of the choir as they prepare for the annual Spoleto Festival in Italy and performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Dr. Onofrio looks into the complicated future of the Choir College as it moves to the Rider University campus in Lawrenceville, NJ. Marshall has complete confidence in a bright future for this worthy institution. With a strong alumni association here in Los Angeles, we are all hoping and praying he is correct in his forecast.

MUSIC: I sat down under his shadow Bairstow: (CD: Martin Mass for Double Choir)
MUSIC: O How Amiable  Ralph Vaughan Williams (CD: Favorite Hymns and Anthems)
MUSIC: Vocal Quartets, Op. 64 – An Die Heimat  Brahms (CD: Singing for Pleasure)
MUSIC: O Magnum Mysterium  Elder (CD: The Heart’s Reflection)
MUSIC: Sanctus from Mass for Double Choir  Martin: (CD: Martin: Mass for Double Choir)


Episode No. 76  Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music and Organist at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City and host of “Sounds from the Spires” with Dr. John Romeri, Director of Music and Organist at Christ Cathedral, Garden Grove, California and host of “Music from the Tower” in a joint radio program.

Together they talk about the two busiest cathedrals in America!  Dr.  Pascual was appointed Director of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in 2003. She is the first woman to hold this position, one of the most prestigious sacred music appointments in the United States. Jennifer earned a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.  She holds a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the Mannes College of Music in New York. She received the Bachelor of Music Degrees in Piano and Organ Performance, magna cum laude, and Music Education from Jacksonville University in Florida.

MUSIC:  Let There Be Light  Gilbert Martin  from the album “Christ Cathedral Dedication”
MUSIC: Let Us Go Rejoicing  Dr. Peter Latona  from the album “Christ Cathedral Dedication”
MUSIC:  Alleluia  Charles Callahan  Diocesan Children’s Choir from the album “Christ Cathedral Dedication”
MUSIC:  Gesu Bambino Pietro Yon  St Patrick Cathedral Choir, New York
MUSIC: Song of Mary  Charles Callahan  St Patrick Cathedral Choir, New York from a live broadcast of a bishop ordination.
MUSIC:  Holy God We Praise Thy Name  St Patrick Cathedral Choir, New York from a live recent broadcast of a bishop ordination.


Episode No 75 Vincent Carr, Associate Professor of Music (Organ), Church Musician, Organist, Conductor, Composer, Scholar

Vincent Carr is Associate Professor of Music in Organ at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Carr is an organist, conductor, and composer known for his versatility as a performer. He leads an eclectic musical career, with interests in sacred music, choral repertoire, chamber music, contemporary American repertoire, musical theater, global popular music, and songwriting. He served as associate organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, New York from 2013-2017. From 2009-2017, he served as Adjunct Professor at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey.

Carr earned both a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance and a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Spanish from Indiana University. At IU, he studied organ with Larry Smith, harpsichord with Elisabeth Wright, and improvisation and church music with John Schwandt and Marilyn Keiser. A graduate of the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, Carr studied organ performance there with Martin Jean, improvisation with William Porter and Jeffrey Brillhart, and choral conducting with Jeffrey Douma.

He has been an award winner in several national performance and improvisation competitions and is in high demand as a clinician, lecturer, and performer. From 2006 to 2013, he served as associate organist at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey, one of the largest gothic cathedrals in the Americas. He has performed and studied throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America (including the Republic of Cuba).

Carr is an Associate and Choirmaster of the American Guild of Organists. In 2013, he took a sabbatical in Europe, studying composition in the tradition of Nadia Boulanger at the Schola Cantorum de Paris through the European American Musical Alliance. In 2014, he served as musical director for a new production of Ruddigore for the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, England. An active collaborative musician, he has performed extensively with the renowned Richard Alston Dance Company in both London and New York City.

MUSIC: Impromptu Samuel Coleridge Taylor Vince Carr, Organist Recorded at Indiana University
MUSIC: Pavane Robert Elmore Vince Carr, Organist Recorded at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark
MUSIC: Come Sunday Mahalia Jackson Organ Improvisation by Vincent Carr Recorded at Indiana University
MUSIC: 3 Pieces for Organ #2 Chorale Prelude: Herr Liebster Jesu George Walker Vincent Carr, Organist
MUSIC: 3 Pieces for Organ #3 Invocation George Walker Vincent Carr, Organist


Episode No. 74 Saturday, November 23, 2019 Christopher Caliendo, Composer, Guitarist, Arranger, Publisher, Film Work, Educator

Meet LA’s own, Christopher Caliendo. As a composer, Caliendo is considered a “best bet” by the Los Angeles Times, with more than 400 published theatrical works. Caliendo has won numerous honors, including 10-time winner of the National Flute Association’s Newly Published Sheet Music Award. Notable recent commissions for Caliendo’s work include Sherlock Holmes: Symphonic Suite and The Hobbit: Symphonic Suite, commissioned by the Pacific Chamber Symphony, and Enders’s Game: Concert Band Suite, commissioned by the United States Air Force, a recording of which was released to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

As a composer for film and television, Caliendo’s accomplishments include the 20th Century Fox-commissioned soundtrack to John Ford’s 1924 silent lm The Iron Horse. Called an “excellent orchestral score” by New York Times critic Dave Kehr, the 136-minute original work was featured at 20th Century Fox’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2010, where selections were performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, along with music from Alfred Newman, David Raskin, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Hollywood Bowl.

He was also commissioned by Sony Pictures to compose a new score for the 2005 re-release of Sam Peckinpah’s 1965 feature Major Dundee,
which earned him the honor of being the first composer in film history to re-score a major motion picture. Caliendo has also written music for the TV series’ Dallas, Knot’s Landing and Paradise, for which he received an Emmy nomination in 1988. Caliendo’s distinction as the first American to be twice-commissioned by Pope John Paul II for the Vatican’s “Encounters of Sacred Contemporary Music Festival” in Rome, Italy, where he debuted The Mystic Saints, a two-hour drama based on four of the Catholic church’s most enigmatic pioneers in Western spirituality. His latest religious work is Seven Psalms.

Caliendo’s love of music began at an early age, playing guitar at age 5 and composing music at age 14. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a Master of Fine Arts in music and graduated magna cum laude.

MUSIC: Enchanted Pilgrimage Christopher Caliendo
MUSIC: The opening of the film MAJOR DUNDEE Christopher Caliendo
MUSIC: ALLEGRIA (Happy) from Flameneo Americano Christopher Caliendo
MUSIC: The Mystic Saints: Food of Humility – St. John of the Cross: Christopher Caliendo
MUSIC: The Mystic Saints: THE EFFICACY OF PATIENCE – TERESA OF AVILA Christopher Caliendo


Episode No. 73 Saturday, November 16, 2019 Dr. Mack Wilberg, Conductor, Composer, Arranger, Educator and the Music Director for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg was appointed music director of TheTabernacle Choir at Temple Square on March 28, 2008, having served as associate music director of the Choir since May 1999. Dr. Wilberg is responsible for all musical and creative aspects of the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in rehearsals, concerts, tours, and recordings, as well as the weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word.

He is a former professor of music at Brigham Young University and is active as a composer, arranger, guest conductor, and clinician throughout the United States and abroad. His compositions and arrangements, currently published exclusively by Oxford University Press, are performed and recorded by choral organizations throughout the world. Dr. Wilberg received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California.

Enjoy a wonderful episode with the director of “America’s Choir.” Hear the journey which led Dr. Wilberg to this wonderful position and even the fascinating process for becoming a member of one of the most famous choirs in the world.

MUSIC: Old Hundredth Hymntune arr. Mack Wilberg Tabernacle Choir from their album TREE OF LIFE
MUSIC: Love Diving All Loves Excelling arr. Mack Wilberg Tabernacle Choir from their album LET US ALL PRESS ON
MUSIC: Child of Light Mack Wilberg Tabernacle Choir from their album ANGELS AMONG US
MUSIC: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing arr. Mack Wilberg Tabernacle Choir from their album ANGELS AMONG US


Episode No. 72 Victor A. Vanacore, Conductor, Pianist, Composer, Arranger

Grammy Award winner Victor Vanacore has been at the nexus of popular music for more than 30 years. Widely respected for his versatility, he has had a long history of fruitful collaborations with the biggest names in the entertainment industry, as a conductor, pianist, composer and arranger.

Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Mr. Vanacore began learning the piano at age six and wrote his first composition at the age of eight, thus beginning his life-long fascination with music. As a teenager, he played the piano in nightclubs, shows, and theatres, receiving valuable experience along the way by accompanying Broadway acts, opera singers, and celebrities. After serving in the U.S. Navy Band, he enrolled in the Berklee College of Music, from which he recently received an Alumnus Recognition Award as “one of the top 60 Alumni.”

As a symphony pops conductor, his engagements include orchestras nationwide, including the Indianapolis, Buffalo, Phoenix and St. Louis Symphonies, He has also worked with orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony. Abroad he has worked with the philharmonic orchestras of Calgary, London, Belgrade, Bratislava, and Skopije as well as the Hanover Pops, the Mozarteum Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Sydney, Melbourne, Edmonton and Vancouver.

In conjunction with his career as a pops conductor, Mr. Vanacore has had numerous associations with celebrity vocalists. He served as conductor, keyboardist and musical arranger for the Jackson Five as well as conductor and arranger for the Fifth Dimension. Not long afterward, Johnny Mathis hired him as musical director for his world tour. He joined Barry Manilow for 6 years in the same capacity.

Additionally, Mr. Vanacore feels honored to have enjoyed a close ongoing relationship with the musical icon Ray Charles, whom he met in 1990. They remained colleagues and friends until Mr. Charles’ passing in 2004, during which time he served as his musical director, arranger, and opening act. Ray Charles’ only platinum album entitled “Genius Loves Company” features Mr. Vanacore’s orchestral arrangements, including the Grammy-winning “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with special guest Johnny Mathis.

He has also been composing in collaboration with his brother David on the critically acclaimed hit CBS show “Survivor.” Other television credits include music for the 2005 Academy Awards show, Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” and “American Idol.” He received the 2009 Telly Award for his musical contribution to the City of Hope cancer center’s fundraising video entitled “Thank You.” Recent CD’s include Natalie Cole, Teena Marie, George Benson, and Dave Koz.

These past few years have seen Maestro Vanacore as composer-in-residence at the Festival of The Arts’ Pageant of the Masters, where he is commissioned annually to provide compositions and arrangements of all styles, Classical to Modern, to accompany living art (tableaux vivants). His religious works include La Sorgente which is based upon the poetry of Pope John Paul II for orchestra, 2 sopranos and 4 tenors. It was performed in 2017 at the John Anson Ford Theatre in Hollywood.

MUSIC: It Was A Very Good Year. Performed by Ray Charles; arrangement by Vincent Vanacore
MUSIC: “La Sorgente” (The Source) Music: Vincert Vanacore Text: St. Pope John Paul II
MUSIC: “Stupore” (Wonderment) about Adam and the Garden. Music: Vincert Vanacore Text: St. Pope John Paul II
MUSIC: Somewhere Over The Rainbow arrangement by Vincent Vanacore Featuring Ray Charles and Johnny Mathis from the album, Genius Loves Company.


Episode No. 71 Dr. David Crean, Organist, Church Musician, Recitalist, Radio Host, and the Author of the new book on the Hazel Wright Pipe Organ (With special co-host David L. Ball)

Dr. David Crean enjoys a multi-faced career as a teacher, recitalist, church musician, and radio personality. He has concertized throughout the United States and completed two concert tours of Australia, where he gave several Australian premieres and performed on historic organs. In 2014 he was the opening recitalist of WQXR’s “Bachstock” marathon performance of the complete organ works of J.S. Bach. Other recent highlights include the Poulenc organ concerto with the Bach Society of Dayton, recitals at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Thomas Fifth Ave., Central College Presbyterian (Columbus, OH), and several programs for American Guild of Organists (AGO) chapters.

A committed teacher at the keyboard and in the classroom, David has taught organ, harpsichord, and theory at Wright State since 2014. From 2013 to 2017 he was University Organist and Director of Chapel Music at Wittenberg University, and has held adjunct positions at Juilliard and The University of Iowa. He also serves as sub-dean of the Dayton, OH chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Since February 2017, David has been the midday host at Discover Classical WDPR, Dayton’s only full-time classical radio station. As Music Director, he also plans music for nearly 70 hours of weekly live broadcast and manages a library of nearly 10,000 recordings. An active church musician since age 15, he currently serves as Organist and Music Director at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Dayton, where he directs the adult choir and leads worship from the 1989 C.B. Fisk Organ.

An avid writer, David is in demand as a program and CD annotator. He currently supplies program notes for Juilliard performances and has written liner notes for several CD’s (including one Grammy-winner). His dissertation focused on the life and works of Samuel P. Warren, organist at New York’s Grace Church in the 19th century and founding member of the AGO. He serves as an occasional reviewer for Notes: the Journal of the Music Library Association and The Diapason. Additional articles have appeared in The American Organist.

A native of New York, David received his D.M.A. from The Juilliard School, where he was the 2014 recipient of the Richard F. French Doctoral Prize for outstanding research in a dissertation. He also holds degrees from Oberlin College/Conservatory and The University of Iowa. His former teachers include Paul Jacobs, Lionel Party, Greg Hand, Delbert Disselhorst, and David Boe.

All music performed by Dr. Crean.
MUSIC: Sonata in C Major BWV 529 by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) 1. Allegro Fisk Organ, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Dayton, OH
MUSIC: Concert Piece No. 1 in C minor by Louis Thiele (1816-1848) Casavant Organ, Brick Presbyterian Church, New York City
MUSIC: Fugue in G Minor, BWV 535 by J.S. Bach Klais Organ, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, New York City
MUSIC: Prelude et danse fugee [sic] by Gaston Litaize (1909-1991 Casavant Organ, First Congregational Church, Iowa City, IA