Recharge your spirit with Summer Music at the Cathedrals

08/02/2014 6:00 PM

08/02/2014 11:00 PM

If you’re feeling jangled from the latest international news or stressed out by the daily struggle of surviving in the 21st century, the two downtown cathedrals are offering you some Sunday afternoon therapy.

The annual Summer Music at the Cathedrals will take place at 2 p.m. every Sunday in August and are a great way to just relax and recharge your spirit before returning to the grind Monday morning.

The series will commence this Sunday with a recital of favorite operatic arias.

John Schaefer, organist and music director for the Episcopal Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, founded the series in 1982. This August, with its abundance of Sundays, will feature five concerts. The first three and the final concerts will take place at Grace and Holy Trinity and the fourth at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

This Sunday at 2 p.m. three members of the Margot Quintet, including Elizabeth Cass, mezzo-soprano, Phillip Hill, baritone, and Cynthia Wilson, piano, will perform a program of operatic favorites. On Aug. 10, pianist Robert Pherigo and his wife, flutist Lyra Pherigo, will combine their efforts for a recital and on Aug. 17, William Baker’s Summer Singers of Kansas City will perform George Frideric Handel’s Water Music, the Dettingen Te Deum and the rousing Coronation Anthems.

The fourth concert on Aug. 24 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be the second annual French Organ Festival. Last year’s inaugural festival was a rousing success, and it looks like this celebration of French organ repertoire is on its way to becoming another annual Kansas City tradition, like Bachathon.

The final concert of the series on Aug. 31 is a program of chamber music, featuring John Schaefer, oboist Maribeth Risebig and her sister, Claudia Risebig.

2 p.m. Sunday. Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St. $10.00. Tickets available at the door. For more information:

John Schaefer’s Birthday Recital

John Schaefer is one of the great unsung heroes of the Kansas City music scene.

He has served as organist and music director at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral for 38 years, but his influence goes far beyond its gothic walls.

Schaefer has always used his talents and position to serve area musicians and arts groups by facilitating use of the cathedral for events, mentoring and encouraging musicians and showing his support for his fellow artists by attending almost every classical concert he and his wife, Leona, are able to attend.

And, of course, there’s his own musical contribution. He’s not only one of the finest organists in a city with many great organists, but he also provides piano accompaniment for many vocalists.

It seems fitting that he’ll be spending his 72nd birthday this Thursday doing what he loves the most … making music.

“I’ll be playing a little program, most of which is organ, but there will be some vocal music there, too,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer’s birthday recital will also be a way for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral to show off the sound of its organ. The Gabriel Kney tracker organ, which was installed in 1981, has always sounded impressive, but it was recently supercharged for maximum oomph.

“A number of new ranks of pipes have been installed, and it will be interesting for people to hear how much sweeter the organ sounds,” Schaefer said. “Two sets of pipes went into the great division, two sets of pipes went into the swell division and two sets of pipes went into the pedal division. And they really sound good. When I played a middle C on the old pipework, it was nice, but now it really blooms. The Quimby pipe organ company was responsible for the new pipework, and it is splendid.”

Thursday’s recital will be the first public opportunity to hear the organ with its new sound.

Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Free.

Patrick Neas is program director for You can reach him at

Summer Music at the Cathedrals

All performances at 2 p.m. at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St., except Aug. 24, which will be at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 416 W. 12th St.

Aug. 3: Three members of the Margot Quintet, from Austin, Texas

Aug. 10: Robert Pherigo, piano, and Lyra Pherigo, flute

Aug. 17: Summer Singers of Kansas City

Aug. 24: French Organ Festival

Aug. 31: Cathedral Musicians present Chamber Music


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