BOSTON – ALL SAINTS DAY, 2021 — A beacon of light during the height of the pandemic, four singers at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross sought artistic refuge in the Cathedral bell tower where its bells toll each day.
The tower’s most unusual acoustic properties were miraculously friendly to singers forced to wear masks and stand far away from each other. Each week immediately after Mass at the Cathedral, they made a new recording.
Several months later, the album From the Bell Tower is the result.
Led by Richard J. Clark, composer and Director of Music of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the Boston Cathedral Singers are:
GRAMMY-wining soprano Barbara Hill, International Performing Artist Jaime Korkos, mezzo-soprano, acclaimed Cuban-American tenor Michael González, and baritone Taras Leschishin, a soloist with the Boston Pops and international guest conductor.
The recordings were digitally mastered by Double-platinum-winning producer Paul Umbach.
This recording includes Clark’s Four Eucharist Motets for the Year of the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Boston and Kevin Allen’s Ave Maria premiered in Los Angeles in 2019 under Clark’s direction.
The two-ton bells have their own story — confiscated during the Civil War from a church in New Orleans, they were sold and installed in 1863 in Holy Trinity German Catholic Church, Boston. Closed in 2008, the bells were relocated to the Cathedral where they ring out to this day.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley stated, “These bells have a missionary fire, inviting people to the banquet.” (Boston Globe: “Historic Bells Will Ring out from Boston Cathedral” – Jack Newsham, Oct. 18, 2015)
For the Boston Cathedral Singers, the bells have been a guiding light and a beacon of hope for us all.
Press Contact: Timothy McGuirk
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About the Boston Cathedral Singers:
Barbara Hill, soprano is a GRAMMY-winning ensemble member and soloist specializing in early and contemporary music. As a soloist, she has appeared with Musica Sacra, Masterworks Chorale, Seven Times Salt, the Old North Festival Chorus, and is the soprano cantor at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston. As an ensemble member, she performs with the GRAMMY-winning ensemble The Crossing, Emmanuel Music, Ensemble Altera, and Cappella Clausura. An enthusiastic supporter of new music, she especially enjoys the opportunity to premiere and record new works. Recent highlights were premiering Julia Wolfe’s “Fire in my mouth” with the NY Philharmonic and The Crossing in January 2019, and recording Heidi Breyer’s ‘Requiem for the Common Man’ due out in late 2021.
Jaime Korkos, mezzo-soprano is a San Francisco native mezzo-soprano who has sung with opera companies and symphonies around the U. S. and Europe. Ms. Korkos sang on a seven-city tour across Ireland, performing in such venues as Dublin’s famous Abbey Theatre, Cork’s The Everyman, and the Wexford National Opera House. Ms. Korkos has been singing regularly with Boston Lyric Opera since their 2016 production of Carmen, including in The Rake’s Progress, Tosca, and The Threepenny Opera and will join them for The Handmaid’s Tale in 2019. Ms. Korkos sang with Boston’s Odyssey Opera as Lady Angela in their 2017 production of Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride and sang Orestes in their 2019 production of Offenbach’s La belle Hélène. 2018 brought her debut with Boston Opera Collaborative as Hannah After in Kaminsky’s critically acclaimed As One. In 2019 she debuted with San Francisco’s Pocket Opera.
Other highlights include a four-city U.S. tour with the late Phillip Gossett and the Italian chamber orchestra Ensemble Nuove Musiche, performance as soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in Jordan Hall under the baton of Hugh Wolff, and soloist for Handel’s Messiah, with the La Jolla Symphony, and the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.
Cuban-American tenor Michael Gonzalez is a graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music, having received his Masters Degree in Music with a focus on Opera, under the tutelage of Michael Meraw. Michael now has his sights set on performing Opera, Art Song, and Operetta. Being from Miami, and the first generation born in the United States, Michael has always been proud of his cultural heritage and relishes in sharing it with those he can.
As a vocalist Michael has performed in various locations across the U.S., and also in several international programs – including, most recently, the American Institute of Musicals Studies in Graz, Austria. Previously, Michael has been featured as Colonel Fairfax – Yeomen of the Guard, Frederic – Pirates of Penzance Satyavān – Savitri, ‘Barigoule’ – Cendrillon, Aeneas – Dido and Aeneas, Albert – Albert Herring and Don Ottavio – Don Giovanni. Michael maintains an active partnership in performing with the Parlor Opera Players, Seraphim singers and the Boston Cathedral Choir.
Taras Leschishin, baritone, is a well known singer in the Boston area having sung as a soloist with the Boston Pops, and many choral groups in New England. Taras has been a member of Handel Haydn Society, Seraphim Singers, King’s Chapel, and Church of the Advent. He was guest conductor and soloist for the Hong Kong Philharmonic performing the Bali, Indonesia. He has worked as director of music for 40 years in numerous parishes around Boston. Taras recently retired after 30 years teaching music at Bridgewater State University. Having been a cantor at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross early in his career, Taras is so pleased return to sing in this beautiful Church.
Richard J. Clark was appointed Archdiocesan and Cathedral Director of Music & Organist in 2018 after serving St. Cecilia Parish in Boston for nearly twenty-nine years. His compositions have been performed worldwide and are published with Lorenz/The Sacred Music Press, World Library Publications, GIA Publications, Saint Michael Hymnal (Fifth Edition – 2021), Saint Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal (Sophia Institute Press – 2019), CanticaNOVA Publications, and others. As performer and composer his appearances include St. Patrick’s Cathedral (NY), Saint-Eustache (Paris), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (D.C.), and the Celebrity Series of Boston. His Te Deum for soloists, chorus and orchestra will be debut in Paris in 2022.
Produced by Richard J. Clark and the Boston Cathedral Singers
Recorded in the Bell Tower of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA
Mastered by Paul Umbach @The Snug Studio, Las Vegas, NV
Cover photography: Evan Landry