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Classical 101

Music in Mid-Ohio: St. Joseph Cathedral Schola

photos of singers in dark room- Schola at St Joseph Cathedral in Columbus
St. Joseph Cathedral
Schola at St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus

Some day when we can get out of the house I want you to go with me on a Sunday night to St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Columbus. You don’t have to be Catholic, you don’t have to be religious, you don’t have to believe in anything much.

Compline (Evening Prayers) at St. Joseph is sung on the first Sunday of the month at 9 pm. The church is in darkness except for a few candles. You’ll see the gentlemen of the Schola make their way to the choir loft.

After a few moments, in the darkness and the stillness, the chant begins and the voices join in. It is what I like to call austere beauty. The darkness, the voices, the chants...the perfect peace.

If you need to be restored, join me in hearing something exquisite. The Schola of St. Joseph Cathedral, conducted by Richard K. Fitzgerald.

Their musical signature, heard at the end of Compline, is Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria.


Compline is forty-five minutes of perfect peace. Does that sound good now?

Many years ago, when I first heard this Ave Maria setting I thought Franz Biebl was a German composer in the time before Bach. Biebl used church modes and based his writing on Gregorian chant.

It turns out that Franz Biebl lived from 1906 to 2001. He was a Bavarian organist, choirmaster, composer and broadcaster. His setting of the Ave Maria was written in 1959.

Go to Compline at St. Joseph Cathedral when services resume. Richard K. Fitzgerald is Minister of Music. The Schola is superb

The Fritts gallery organ is magnificent. But that's another Music in Mid-Ohio blog post....

Music in Mid-Ohio is heard Sunday afternoons at 1 on Classical 101, usually from May to September. The series presents performances given in our listening area. Sometimes by guests. Very often by your “friends and neighbors”

Music in Mid-Ohio depends, as does the community, on locally produced concerts. While we are all sequestered at home, and with concerts postponed or cancelled, I’m bring the series to this blog.

We’ll be on the air again one day soon with the best local performances I can find. Until then, check back here often for Music in Mid-Ohio, on the web.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.