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Host Rick Howick is thrilled to welcome Lauren McCaul to our studio for today’s program.

If you have ever attended mass at Christ Cathedral or watched a livestream, you have surely seen Lauren and heard her beautiful voice leading us in song.

Today she shares about her position at the cathedral; and, how the music ministry has been impacted by COVID-19.

You are sure to be inspired by her stories, her words, and her powerful testimony of faith!





Originally broadcast on 6/20/20


Editor’s Note: As our churches prepare to reopen, the return of our church choirs is part of the last phase of the Diocese’s phased approach to safely reopening. While that may still be months away, it will surely be a joyful milestone on our journey back. The following first-person story reflects this. 


It was just two months ago when I sent out a mass email to all St. Joachim music ministers, letting them know the sad news that we would not be singing together for Holy Week. This is our ‘Super-Bowl’ and we would miss being together for these important liturgies: Holy Thursday with its beautiful Eucharistic procession; Good Friday, with its impassioned tones and massive turnout; Easter Vigil, where the choir has front-row seats as dozens of new Catholics are baptized; and then finally a very festive Easter morning with a horn quartet, Easter bonnets and a joyous rendition of ‘He Is Risen.’ All of this, lost to a dangerous, invisible virus. 

That email ended with these spontaneous words: “What a great day it will be when we sing together again!” Within minutes after hitting ‘send’ those words had a tune, and within hours it was developing into a full-fledged song, and within a day I was passing a full arrangement around to my fellow ‘SoCal Composers Forum’ colleagues for review.  

I then got it to the choir and we swung into action immediately to get a solid recording going. Nine of us showed up on March 31 for a ‘social-distance’ outdoor rehearsal, followed by a base-line recording in the church. It was all videotaped. (Don’t worry! We kept our distance!) The following Thursday, April 2, Frank Calabretta (a parishioner, choir member and volunteer techie) and I set up an outdoor, drive-by recording station beside Nevin Hall. About 15 members of the student choir and many members of the adult choirs pulled up in their cars and sang the part they had learned at home online, all of it recorded and videotaped. One woman even sang from her car with our over-head mic poking in the window. 

This gave us the critical mass necessary for a great recording, though Frank had his hands full, purging from all recorded tracks all the extraneous outdoor sounds of everything from passing aircraft, to sirens, to motorcycles, to a noisy flock of parrots. 

After all that, we took on the task of collecting Zoom recordings from both student and adult choir members who couldn’t make it to our outdoor recording station. This added a little more beef to the sound and enabled us to include many more faces in the final product.  

Frank spent days synchronizing all these varied tracks together. He has been tireless in his efforts to get this all to work under some of the craziest recording conditions ever.  

After all this, the audio tracks went to Rich Mouser, who has done most of the post-production on our 3 CDs. Frank had already taken care of much of the post production this time around, lightening the load on Rich. We finished the audio mix on April 17. 

Countless hours of video-tape footage were recorded by Frank as well as my daughter, Colleen, and then landed on the lap of Joe McDonald, a parishioner and videographer who sorted through all of this to come up with a great video to go with the new song. His work was crucial to the overall project as this mountain of scattered video clips was on his shoulders alone. After much arduous labor with a 12-year-old computer we finally crossed the finish line. 

This means it went from nothing, to an idea, to a song, to a recording w/video in about 4 weeks. (This under the duress of quarantine.) The one great thing about recording during this time has been the answer everyone has given me as I ask for favor-upon-favor: “Sure, what else have I got to do?” 

You’re going to love this song along with all those familiar St. Joachim Parish/School faces in the mix! This is a song the whole world needs to hear right now! 


Editor’s Note: The beautiful, uplifting song can be viewed and heard via youtube at:


On today’s program, host Rick Howick welcomes our special guest, Andrew Everson to the studio. Andrew is the Director of Music at St. Joachim Church and School in Costa Mesa, CA. When the COVID-19 crisis struck and churches became closed to the public, Andrew was inspired to write a song. He did just that – and we’re going to talk about all the fascinating details behind “What a Great Day It Will Be: A Song of Hope.” In addition to Andrew, we’re also joined on the program today by two parishioners of St. Joachim who have been involved in a unique way during this process: Arianna Garcia and Cynthia Morehouse.

Here’s the link to the YouTube video:





Originally broadcast on 5/23/20


Episode No. 63 Saturday June 22, 2019 Your hosts John A. Romeri, Christ Cathedral Director of Music and David L. Ball, Cathedral Assistant Director of Music and Organist


Hear John and David describe the amazing artists and  music coming to Christ Cathedral in our 4th season of concerts.


Christ Cathedral Concerts 2019 – 2020

Sunday, July 21, 2019  3 PM  Christ Cathedral

Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School

Charles Cole, Conductor

            MUSIC:   Haec Dies, John Shappard

            MUSIC:   Salvator Mundi, Thomas Tallis


Thursday, August 1, 2019  7:30 PM Christ Cathedral

Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale performs Beethoven 9th Symphony

Carl St. Clair, Conductor

            MUSIC:  Symphony No 9  4th Movement  Ludwig van Beethoven

            MUSIC:  Symphony No 9  4th Movement finale  Ludwig van Beethoven


Tuesday, August 6, 2019  7:30 PM Christ Cathedral Arboretum

Libera Boy Choir of London

Robert Prizeman, Conductor

            MUSIC:  Libera   Robert Prizeman
MUSIC:  Sanctus   Johann Pachebel/Robert Prizeman


Saturday, October 24, 2019  2 PM  Christ Cathedral

Mark Thallander Foundation Festival of Faith

Dr. Mack Wilberg, Conductor


Wednesday, November 20, 2019  7:30 PM   Christ Cathedral

Tenebrae Choir of London

Nigel Short, Conductor

            MUSIC: Ubi Caritas   Paul Mealor

            MUSIC:  Path of Miracles  “Leon”  Joby Talbot


Friday, December 13, 2019   Christ Cathedral

Christmas at the Cathedral

Christ Cathedral Choirs

            MUSIC:  The Snow Lay on the Ground  arr. Julian Wachner


Saturday, January 18, 2020  8:00 PM   Christ Cathedral

Westminster Choir from Westminster Choir College

Dr. Joe Miller, Conductor

            MUSIC:  Haec Dies   William Byrd

            MUSIC:  The Lord Bless You and Keep You   Peter Lutkin


Friday, April 24, 2020  7:30 PM  Christ Cathedral

Cathedral Choir from Notre Dame, Paris

Henri Chalet, Conductor   Yves Castagnet, Organist

            MUSIC:  Messe Salve Regina  Yves Castagnet


Friday, May 15, 2020  8:00 PM  Christ Cathedral

Hazel Wright Organ Rededication

            MUSIC:  Cantata No. 29  Johann S. Bach   Paul Jacobs, Organist



Episode No. 53 Saturday, December 1, 2018. Music from the Tower… “ON THE ROAD” with the Bishops of the Diocese of Orange and members of the Diocesan Choir and Christ Cathedral Choirs

This special edition of MUSIC FROM THE TOWER is beautiful choral music and commentary from this year’s Diocese of Orange Bishops Pilgrimage and Cruise.  During these 12 days we visited three countries, Italy, Spain, and France, and some of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals, monasteries and churches.  Our pilgrimage began at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome with a wonderful Mass in Italian with our Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Timothy Freyer concelebrating. Along with our Bishops we had about 25 choir members from Christ Cathedral and our Diocesan Choir, with over 100 pilgrims.  In Rome we also sang at Rome’s Cathedral Church, St. John in Lateran, and San Lorenzo in Lucina.  From Rome se headed to our cruise ship, the Symphony of the Seas, the world’s newest and largest cruise ship.  We set sail for Naples where we toured and sang in the Naples Cathedral of the Assumption. Traveling by bus we went down to the Amalfi coast to Sorrento where we had Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Philip and James.

Our next day was at sea where we had a lovely Mass on board our ship to honor Bishop William Johnson, the first bishop of Orange.  We next landed in Barcelona Spain with Sunday morning Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  Back on our ship we headed to Palma Majorca to visit the shrines of St. Junipero Serra. We had a spectacular mass at the Basilica and Cloisters of St. Francis, where St. Serra lived from age 16 until he was 34 when he left for Mexico and California. We traveled on to Avignon, France where we celebrated a Mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  Our final Mass was back in Italy at Santa Trinita in Florence. We were joined by St. Patrick Cathedral’s (New York) organist, Michael Hey and violinist Christiana Liberis (They were on Episode No 47 of MFTT).  It was an astonishing trip of prayer, music, fellowship and fun.

MUSIC:  I Was Glad  Thomas Matthews  (Sung in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome)
MUSIC:  Cantate Domino  Giuseppe Pitoni (Sung at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Naples)
MUSIC:  Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether Harold Friedell (Sung in the Cathedral of SS Philip and James, Sorrento)
MUSIC:  Nos Autem Gloriari  Felice Anerio (Sung at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Barcelona)
MUSIC:  Faithful Cross Leo Nestor (Sung at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Barcelona)
MUSIC:  Go to the World  Sine Nomine  (Sung in the Basilica of St. Francis, Majorca)
MUSIC:  Psalm 34 Taste and See  James Chepponis.  Cantor Lauren McCaul (Sung in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Avignon, France)
MUSIC: O Taste and See  Richard DeLong  (Sung in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Avignon, France)
MUSIC: Ave Verum William Byrd (Sung in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Avignon, France)
MUSIC: Pavane  Gabriel Fauré Christiana Liberis, violin, Michael Hey, organist (Performed in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC: O Holy Spirit  Christopher Tye  (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Psalm 119  James Chepponis  Robert DeCarlo and Lauren McCaul, cantors  (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Lux Beatissima   Howard Helvey  (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Panis Angelicus  César Franck (Sung in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)
MUSIC:  Praeludium and Allegro Fritz Kreisler   Christiana Liberis, violin, Michael Hey, organist (Performed in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Florence, Italy)


Editor’s Note: Related to this story, the angelic voices of the internationally acclaimed boys choir Libera will be coming to Christ Cathedral on July 28. For more information:


WASHINGTON (CNS) — Since the 13th century, the Escolania de Montserrat has sung daily for pilgrims at Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia, Spain.

This summer they brought their sacred music — some of it dating back to the Middle Ages — to New Jersey, New York, Washington, San Francisco and Pasadena, California. Their U.S. tour June 28 to July 7 included their debut on the West Coast.


In Washington, the boys choir performed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at a morning Mass July 2 and that evening sang at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown as part of a “Serenade” for President John F. Kennedy to mark his birth 100 years ago. Kennedy worshipped at Holy Trinity. Kennedy Center events honoring the late president July 3 also included a performance by the choir.

The singers’ New York performance was June 29 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“Sacred music is important to us, because a monk knows that when he is in the liturgy he is in the presence of God,” Benedictine Brother Efrem de Montella, then deputy headmaster of the Escolania, told Catholic News Service in an interview in 2014 when the choir made its U.S. debut.

The music performed by the choir demands a lot of dedication. The boys leave their homes between the ages of 9 and 14 and spend four or five years at Montserrat. They practice for an hour and 10 minutes a day and sing daily in the church. In addition to singing, the boys play piano and at least one other instrument.

“Today, the aim of the Escolania — as in the past — is the daily participation in the prayer of the sanctuary, singing in front of a very large audience of pilgrims who come from all over the world,” says the choir’s website. “It is one of the objectives of the Escolania to spread sacred music, both of the composers of Montserrat and of internationally renowned composers as well.”

Most of the choristers, when they leave Montserrat, continue with their musical studies, especially over the last decades, where some have developed into noted singers, instrumentalists and conductors.

“Through their singing, the choristers — called ‘escolans’ in Catalan — are messengers of peace and beauty,” the website says. “Using the universal language of music, they cross all kinds of boundaries and speak directly to the hearts of the people who listen to them sing.”



In a rare California tour, the University of Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, considered one of the preeminent musical ensembles of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., will grace the Arboretum at Christ Cathedral on Jan. 11.

The choir, the principal choir at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Notre Dame, was founded in 1973. It includes some 60 student-singers, a mix of graduate and undergraduate students, who are regarded as the premier collegiate Catholic choral group in the country.

Led by Choir Director Dr. Andrew McShane, its primary purpose is to provide musical leadership at the 10 a.m. Solemn Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a Mass that is widely televised. The choir also sings during Sunday Vespers, at weddings in the Basilica and other special events such as ordinations and dedications.

The choir performs a cappella and accompanied sacred music from the Renaissance through the 20th century.

The group’s California tour includes singing at the Jan. 8 11 a.m. Mass at the Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano . A concert performance is also scheduled for Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach. Finally, the famed choir will conclude its Orange County tour at Christ Cathedral on Jan .11. A concert is schedule for 7:30 p.m. in the Arboretum.


More than 1,000 young people from the U.S. joined thousands more from around the world to attend the 40th International Congress of Pueri Cantores in Rome Dec. 26 through Jan. 2. A highlight of the trip was singing for Pope Francis.

Attending from Orange County were choirs from Serra Catholic in Santa Margarita, St. Cecilia in Santa Ana, and St. Edward the Confessor Dana Point.

According to Marti Longo, Choir Director at Serra Catholic, the trip was a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

“My favorite moment was actually the final mass practice and audience with the Pope, held Dec. 31. Students from all countries were assembled in Salle Nervi (the hall adjacent to St. Peter’s basilica), where they practiced Mass songs and Christmas songs for Pope Francis. My students thoroughly enjoyed meeting students from other countries, and attempting to share stories about where they live.”

Longo says the students connected with those from other countries, even using the Google Translate app to communicate.

“The Serra students learned an Italian Christmas carol in preparation for the trip. The girls sang it for the their new Italian friends who were astounded and quickly joined in. It was proof that music has no borders, and touching to see their enthusiastic and kind behavior.”

The American Federation of Pueri Cantores, student singers in grades 4 through 12, their families, friends, teachers and clergy were part of the choral extravaganza. Choirs from the U.S. sang in several locations in Rome and Vatican City. Venues included the Basilica of St. John Lateran and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Two choirs from the Diocese of Orange sang for Pope Francis on Dec. 28 at the Paul VI Hall. They joined with 28 other choirs from around the world at various venues in Rome.

According to Fr. Thomas Franzman, Chairman of the American Federation and a member of the first American delegation to Rome in 1960, “What sets Pueri Cantores apart is the quality of the music, the great conducting and the beauty of the churches where choirs sing. It is the leading advocate for Catholic youth choirs and their conductors in the United States and encourages the leadership of youth in the Church today and in the future.”

The International Federation of Pueri Cantores, founded in 1944 in France, was officially endorsed by the Holy See in 1965 and currently is part of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

There are about 40,000 youth and children in hundreds of Pueri Cantores choirs composed of boys and girls, ages 9 through 18 around the world. The American Federation of Pueri Cantores was founded in Chicago in 1953, is now headquartered in the Diocese of Orange in California, and is the second largest federation worldwide.

Pueri Cantores Quick Facts

  • International Catholic student choral music association headquartered in the Vatican with federations in 37 countries
  • Founded in 1944, approved by every Pope since Pius XII
  • The American Federation Pueri Cantores was formed in Chicago in 1953
  • Choirs include boys and girls from 4th through 12th grade
  • 40,000 youth choir members worldwide
  • 5,000 youth singing in Rome (more than 1,000 from the U.S.)
  • American Federation of Pueri Cantores is the 2nd largest federation worldwide after Germany
  • Pope Benedict XVI said: “You have an important mission for helping the people of God to pray with dignity, because sacred music is a ministerial office in divine service.”
  • Pueri Cantores: literal meaning is “Child Singers”