By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

PHILADELPHIA – It’s billed as “A Concert of Sacred Music,” and it will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on Thursday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. If you’d like to attend you had best order tickets early because seating is limited.

Featured in the program will be the All Archdiocesan Secondary Chorus, the Keystone State Boychoir and a group of archdiocesan priests who will sing sacred music, mostly music they learned in their seminary days.

Catholics of a certain age might well remember when singing by the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Choir was a cultural highlight of many important liturgical celebrations at the Cathedral. Their presence at this concert in the universal Church’s Year of the Priest is especially important because proceeds from the concert will benefit the Priest Retirement Fund.

“It’s an opportunity for some of our priests to come together to praise God and to share the gift of song and music,” said Father Zachary W. Navit, whose archdiocesan Office for Special Projects is putting the concert together. He estimated about 30 priests will participate. “All of the pieces we are performing go back to our seminary days, and for the priests this is a reunion of sorts. Regardless of age these are the pieces we all knew at the seminary.”

Directing the priests’ choir is Msgr. Michael J. Matz, ordained in 1984. The accompanists will be Father Gerald Carey, ordained in 1998, and Father Keith Chylinski, ordained in 2007. The concept of a sacred concert with the priests’ group came from Msgr. Louis D’Addezio, ordained in 1961.

“We have rehearsals every other Monday,” Msgr. Matz said. “Most of the priests who have signed up for the concert were active in the seminary choir in their day. For the most part their voices have held up … and a first tenor will still be a first tenor.” Msgr. Matz said.

“Once ordained we went off to different assignments, and it’s nice to have this opportunity to visit our heritage and as Philadelphia priests, to get reconnected,” he said. “We look forward to the group singing some of the old seminary favorites, including the Gloria by (Lorenzo) Perosi.”

In addition to their group singing there will be solos. All three choirs will sing inspanidually as well as join in with the others at certain points in the program.

Tickets for the Concert of Sacred Music are available on a first come basis. Prices are $15, $10 and $7. They may be ordered through inspanidual parishes or by calling 215-587-3519.

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.