Christ Church Cathedral has enjoyed a long tradition of music of the highest caliber in its liturgies and worship celebrations. There is a great deal of variety in the musical offerings at the Cathedral, where the choirs sing music that spans centuries, from Renaissance and Tudor motets and Bach cantatas to traditional Anglican choral pieces and new compositions by living composers. An expansive repertoire of organ music is heard on the 2003 Lively-Fulcher instrument both in worship and in concert .
Music is a vital part of the Cathedral’s liturgies, offered to the glory of God and for the nurture of his people. The aim of the Cathedral musicians is to provide a continuum for musical involvement on which those interested in music may find themselves at any time, lending their voices to create glorious music to the praise of God in this Cathedral. The Cathedral Choristers begin their training and singing in weekly liturgies in second grade. The Cathedral Choir is a 28-voice auditioned and highly-skilled choir that sings weekly liturgies, Choral Evensong several times a year, and the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. The Parish Choir is a volunteer choir that sings four times a year, participating in a simple rehearsal before the liturgy.
There are four choral ensembles at Christ Church Cathedral. If you are musically inclined and are interested in becoming involved in music-making at the Cathedral, please consider joining one of the musical ensembles active in the life of this Cathedral.
THE CATHEDRAL CHOIR
The Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Michael Velting, Canon for Music, is the 28-voice highly-trained choir that sings at the 11 a.m. (Summer 10 a.m.) Eucharist, as well as singing Choral Evensong several times a year and the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. Their critically acclaimed recording Christ Hath a Garden was released in 2007.
Cathedral Choir rehearsals run from from September to May and are on Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m. Rehearsals during summer months are on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m.
The Cathedral Choir welcomes new singers at any time of the year by audition. If you read music, sightread well, have experience singing in a choir, and would like to know more about joining the Cathedral Choir, please contact Michael Velting with any inquiries or to set up an appointment. We look forward to welcoming you into the Cathedral Choir!
THE CATHEDRAL CHORISTERS
The Cathedral Choristers, directed by Michael Velting and Joseph O'Berry, Assistant Organist and Choirmaster, is the children’s choir training program of the Cathedral, and it is divided into Junior Choristers (2nd and 3rd grades) and Senior Choristers (4th grade into high school.)
They sing primarily the 8:30 a.m. Eucharist (September through May.) Using a training curriculum based on the Royal School of Church Music model, these children receive weekly vocal training, learn to read music, and discover the joy of being leaders in worship. They also have special events: pool parties, pizza parties, a retreat in September, etc. Boys remain part of the Chorister Program until their voices break and change. Girls are welcome to stay on into high school. Any child in grades two and above is welcome to become a Cathedral Chorister.
The Senior Choristers serve as hosts for the annual Cathedral Chorister Festival, to which we invite Choristers from a wide swath of the Southeast as well as other special guests to join us and a nationally renowned guest director each spring in a two-day festival, which culminates in the singing of the 11 a.m. Eucharist and 4 p.m. Choral Evensong on the Sunday of the festival.
Rehearsal for the Junior Choristers (grades 2 & 3) is on Monday afternoon, from 4:15 until 5 p.m., led by Joseph O'Berry.
Senior Choristers (grades 4-8) rehearse on Wednesday afternoon from 4:30 – 6 p.m., led by Dr. Velting and Mr. O'Berry. Please contact Joseph O'Berry at the Cathedral to enroll your child in the Cathedral Chorister Program.
THE PARISH CHOIR
The Parish Choir, under the direction of Michael Velting and Joseph O'Berry, is a group that sings three times a year, once during the summer months and twice during the academic year. This ensemble of adults and teenagers is made up of singers who do not necessarily have the time to commit to the normal rehearsal schedule of the Cathedral Choir, but who do enjoy occasionally participating in music leadership in the Cathedral. A wide range of music is sung, and no audition is necessary. The only requirement is to be present at the rehearsal one hour prior to the liturgy for which the Parish Choir is singing. This Choir does not vest or process. We always have fun and are always looking to increase the number of participants in this choir. Please contact Joseph O'Berry for more details on the Parish Choir.
Canon Dr. Michael Velting
Canon for Music
Michael Velting is Canon for Music at Christ Church Cathedral, where he has been organist and choirmaster since 1994. Canon Velting serves as principal organist, director of Cathedral choirs and and administrator of the music program at the Cathedral. Prior to assuming this position he was Assistant Organist and Choirmaster of Washington National Cathedral and Adjunct Professor of Organ at the American University in Washington, D.C.
He holds both a master’s degree and doctorate in Organ Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, in the class of David Craighead. From 1982 to 1986, he lived in Paris, France, where he studied organ with Daniel Roth and won the Prix de Virtuosité in the class of Marie-Claire Alain at the Conservatoire National de Région, in Rueil-Malmaison. While there, he also served as organist of the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity from 1984 to 1986.
Dr. Velting has performed in Germany, England, Canada, Switzerland, and France, as well as throughout the United States. He was instrumental in the design of the Lively-Fulcher organ for Christ Church Cathedral, where he directs the Cathedral Choir, the Parish Choir and the Senior Choristers and administers the Cathedral music program. He is a member of both the American Guild of Organists and the Association of Anglican Musicians. He has served as Councillor for Conventions on the National Council of the American Guild of Organists since 2014, and is now entering his third two-year term. He is a former dean of the Nashville chapter of the AGO and has twice served as a judge for AGO organ competitions. He was chair of the Committee on Performances for the 2012 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists, held in Nashville, and is a past recipient of an Outstanding Teacher award by the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.
Assistant Organist and Choirmaster
Joseph O'Berry most recently served as Interim Director of Music at Epiphany Parish of Seattle, where he oversaw and administered the Music Department and conducted the professional Schola and semi-professional Parish Choir.
Prior to his appointment in Seattle, Joseph was Organ Scholar at Blackburn Cathedral and Truro Cathedral in England (2014-2016). While in England he participated in more than 700 services, some of which had dignitaries and members of the Royal Family in attendance. He shared responsibilities in playing the daily offices of Choral Evensong/ Eucharist, training the probationer boys, conducting the Cathedral Choirs, and participating fully in the administration of the music departments, which included Cathedral Music Outreach. On several occasions, he appeared on BBC Spotlight accompanying Truro Cathedral Choir. He is a featured organist on Blackburn Cathedral Choir's newest CD, titled “Natus: Music for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany” on the Priory Records label (the largest producer of church music in the United Kingdom).
Preceding his appointments in England, Joseph lived in Atlanta, where he was Director of Music at Holy Trinity Parish and Chapel Organist for the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He also sang with the professional Schola at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip, during which time the Schola sang two-week residencies at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London and Canterbury Cathedral, respectively.
Joseph studied organ performance under the late Dr. Robert Parris, with secondary emphasis in early music and collaborative piano, at the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University. He is a Colleague of the American Guild of Organists (CAGO), and has appeared as a solo and collaborative recitalist throughout the United States, Canada, England, and Australia.
Dr. Michael Velting, Canon for Music, said, "The Cathedral Choir, Choristers, and I are all looking forward to our close collaboration with Joseph in the coming years. Please introduce yourself to him and help us make him feel welcome and at home here at the Cathedral. I'm very grateful to the members of the Search Committee, Melissa Rose, Mary Ward, Scott Hoffman, and Jerry Snare, who spent many hours this summer helping vet and interview candidates for our Assistant Organist and Choirmaster position."