The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and Christ Cathedral music ministry are pleased to announce their 2023-24 concert season, which will feature the world-famous Hazel Wright Organ, holiday music, choirs and more.
This series sponsored by the Catholic Church — long known as a steward of art and architecture — will be offering world-class performances and joyous celebration to the people of Southern California at no cost.
All concerts will be free and hosted at Christ Cathedral, the iconic glass cathedral formerly known as the Crystal Cathedral.
“With this upcoming season, our community here at Christ Cathedral, under the leadership of Bishop Kevin Vann, aims to further establish this campus as a musical hub not only for Orange County, but for the region at large,” said David Ball, cathedral organist and head of music ministry. “Our dedicated staff invites all to enjoy a spectacular music venue and explore the beautiful grounds.”
The season follows the widely successful 2022-23 Year of Hazel series, which trumpeted the completed restoration of the cathedral’s Hazel Wright Organ.
Throughout that season, the 17,000-pipe organ, the world’s fifth largest made famous from Dr. Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power,” was used to her fullest extent with special performances, ecumenical events, religious services and more.
The 2023-24 season begins on Nov. 13 with the music of Max Reger, the German composer known for his epic organ music.
It continues on Dec. 15 with the annual Christmas at the Cathedral, a candlelit celebration of the season.
An ecumenical organ and choral festival in memory of Dr. Frederick Swann will take place on Jan. 20. Dr. Swan was the famed organist and former Crystal Cathedral music director. Swann, who died in 2022 at the age of 91, made the Hazel Wright Organ world famous through his virtuosic playing on the “Hour of Power.” He returned to Hazel to help restore the organ after the Catholic Church purchased the Crystal Cathedral and transformed the property into Christ Cathedral.
The festival is being presented in collaboration with the Mark Thallander Foundation and the Los Angeles and Orange County chapters of the American Guild of Organists.
The series continues on March 5 with Spem in Alium: Hope in God Alone — A Choral Adoration. This concert, tied to the Catholic Church’s National Eucharistic Revival, will include a performance of Thomas Tallis’ “Spem in Alium,” a rarely performed, 40-part choral work dubbed the “Mount Everest of choral music.”
The season will also include in 2024 a dedication concert for the new organ being installed inside the cathedral’s St. Callistus Chapel and Crypts. The event date is to be determined.
The organ, manufactured by Schoenstein & Co. of Benicia, Calif., will serve both liturgical and concert needs at Christ Cathedral. It will have a new pipe case designed by the chapel’s architects and, in a nod to the Crystal Cathedral, feature crystal drawknobs on the console. The Schoenstein organ will complement the campus’ Hazel Wright Organ (Fratelli Ruffatti/Aeolian-Skinner), Frederick Swann Organ (Aeolian Skinner) and Bob Tall Rodgers Organ (Rodgers).
Though the concerts are free, attendees are asked to get tickets online. There will be a freewill offering. For more information about the series and to obtain tickets, call (714) 620-7912 or visit www.christcathedralmusic.org.