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Catholic University to present concert by Sistine Chapel Choir

The Catholic University of America will present a free concert by the Sistine Chapel Choir at 6 p.m. Sept. 20 as part of a three-city tour that marks the choir’s first visit to the United States in more than 30 years. Joining Catholic University in this historic endeavor is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, where the choir will perform.


The choir, whose reputation has grown under the leadership of Msgr. Massimo Palombella, performs at significant papal celebrations and liturgies, including Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. It is the oldest choir in the world, present since the earliest centuries of the church and reorganized in the sixth century. Its members include approximately 20 adult singers and 30 boy choristers.

“Our role in the U.S. tour signifies our importance as a center for Catholic music,” says Grayson Wagstaff, dean of the University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. “The present conductor of the Sistine Chapel Choir has reinvigorated the performance of Renaissance music. Our faculty and students have contributed to scholarship on that great tradition. We look forward to hosting the choir, knowing that we have a role in the preservation of the music they perform.”

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl commented on the significance of the event by saying, “As chancellor of The Catholic University of America, it is my honor and privilege to welcome to our campus and host the world-renowned Sistine Chapel Choir. The visit of this historic choir that provides sacred music for papal Masses is an opportunity to support, as well, Catholic arts here at the University.”

The concert celebrates the university’s commitment to the Catholic arts. As part of this initiative, the university’s new Catholic Arts Council will host a fundraising dinner celebrating the arts following the concert. Students and faculty from the School of Music and departments of art and drama will be featured at the dinner, which will be held on campus in Heritage Hall.

Concert sponsors include EWTN and Shadd Pianos, USA. EWTN will film the event as part of its “In Concert” Series. The choir’s U.S. tour also includes performances at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City Sept. 16 and the Detroit Opera House Sept. 23.

Get tickets

For more information about the concert or to purchase tickets to the dinner, go to cuatoday.com/papalchoir2017.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017