By Teri Schulist     9/12/2016

Harmonious choral sounds rang throughout the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles earlier this summer as St. Cecilia’s Youth Ensemble performed a capella meditative songs on the altar and in the baptismal alcove. As the destination for the ensemble’s Los Angeles day trip, the Cathedral enthralled the 20 young singers who call Orange County home.

“Our Youth Ensemble here at St. Cecilia’s is a source of great pride,” said Fr. Bao Thai, administrator of St. Cecilia’s in Tustin, California. “The young singers represent our parish very well, and now gain a greater understanding of their faith through touring the Cathedral.”

St. Cecilia Catholic Church, named after the Patron Saint of Music, is blessed with a 30-member children’s choir, known as the Youth Ensemble. The group sings biweekly at St. Cecilia Church’s 11 a.m. family mass and also performs at special events throughout the year.

“The day trip to Los Angeles was a goal of ours for quite some time,” said Teri Schulist, director of the parish’s Youth Ensemble. “It was very rewarding to hear these dedicated young people sing so beautifully in such a magnificent cathedral.”

The singers enjoyed a tour led by Kristen Holtzen, who explained the artistic and architectural aspects of the Cathedral.

“I was amazed by the grand pipe organ and all the features of the architecture that made the Cathedral a great place to sing,” said Sara Rosales, ensemble member. “The tour guide explained how the grooves in the wood absorbed the echo so that singing was more enjoyable to listen to.”

The group visited other Los Angeles landmarks, as well. The tour emphasized music as the young singers took in the Disney Concert Hall and the Los Angeles Music Center, as well as Angels Flight and Olvera Street, where a delicious Mexican feast concluded their day.

“This trip was a well-earned treat for our Youth Ensemble singers, who work diligently all year to lead parishioners in song,” said Fr. Bao Thai.

“I view the ensemble as a group that worships, sings, learns, and plays together,” said Schulist. “We will continue to find musical experiences outside of our familiar surroundings so that the singers continue to grow musically, and, more importantly, in their faith.”

All members of the ensemble felt blessed to visit the Cathedral and to present some of their special musical pieces.

“Singing in the beautiful Cathedral felt like I was performing in front of God. The sound of our voices was angelic in this holy place,” said Rosales.