Sacred Music for Sacred Ceremonies.
Because weddings are a celebration of the Sacred Liturgy and matrimony is a sacrament of the church, only sacred music is sung during wedding liturgies at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Secular music, such as Broadway musicals or popular love songs, is used more effectively outside the religious celebration (e.g. at a reception or rehearsal party).
Please be on time. Be aware that some things will hold you up, such as dress fitting and photography and greeting of friends and family. Musicians hired for your wedding will be available for 90 minutes from the stated start time. If your ceremony lasts longer than this we cannot guarantee that the musicians will still be available – they may have to leave to ensure punctual arrival at their next work.
Choice of Musicians
Because the liturgy requires many of the sacred texts to be sung, the inclusion of both a cantor and an organist is an ideal way of providing liturgical music at weddings. Our Director of Music will help you choose music by giving help via telephone, email or in person. He will act as music director for the wedding so that all other musicians are rehearsed properly and are familiar with their duties. He will also advise you on the production of a suitable printed program and help you insert the correct music items. It is Cathedral policy that a staff cantor (or choir) be engaged for each wedding Mass. The cantor is the vocal soloist and leads the congregational singing. The Director of Music will secure the services of a cantor for your wedding. It is important that a cantor participate in your wedding Mass because of their high level of skill, familiarity with liturgy, experience in the vast church space, and ongoing working relationship with parish clergy. For wedding ceremonies without Mass there is some lee-way here; please discuss this with our Director of Music. If a couple decides to not use a cantor for their ceremony (the only ceremony at which this would be allowed would be one during which communion will not be distributed), any guest vocalists will require a rehearsal and be treated as if he or she is a visiting musician; the couple will be required to pay additional fees (see "Visiting Musicians" below). The Office of Music will hire and contract musicians for your wedding. Only musicians hired through the Office of Music may provide music at the weddings at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. This is to ensure a suitable level of quality during the celebration of the sacred liturgies. Our musicians are familiar with the liturgies and are experienced in working with the clergy, wedding coordinators at the Church and each other.
We recommend that you select music from the website; this is the repertoire that we do at the Cathedral. The Director of Music is always available to speak by phone or meet in person, but only AFTER the couple has made contact and has submitted their choices via this website. Because there are over forty weddings a year at the Cathedral, this is the best way to ensure accuracy of music selections and musician choices. Any communication by phone must be followed-up with an email; the Music office isn't responsible for choices not confirmed via email. Per Cathedral policy, the Cathedral organist isn't allowed to play through any selections at the organ at any wedding consultation. The purpose of the wedding consultation is to discuss and confirm selections already made by the wedding party. If the couple chooses a song that isn't in our repertoire, nor available in our music resources, the couple will be responsible for purchasing and sending their choice to the Director of Music.
We are often able to welcome family members or friends who are musicians may participate in your wedding with the prior agreement with the music office. Often this means that they are able to sing a solo piece of sacred music or play an instrumental solo at the offertory or during communion. A staff cantor should lead the remaining liturgical music. ONLY ONE GUEST MUSICIAN IS ALLOWED PER CEREMONY. Please make arrangements with the Director of music in the Office of Music. All visiting musicians are required to rehearse with the Organist on a day before the ceremony; rehearsals with visiting musicians require an additional fee of $200. In the event that you choose to provide your own organist, you first must get approval of this guest organist by the Director of Music; if the Director of Music approves the guest organist, then the Director of Music’s fee ($300) is still payable. The Director of Music reserves the right to deny use of the Cathedral's organ to any guest organist or guest musician, without explanation. In the event that a bride wishes to make significant requests that are outside of our guidelines, the Director of Music will decide how those requests are handled, and will also decide about extra fees required for such requests. These extra fees will be in addition to the fees mentioned in our guidelines, and will be at the discretion of the Director of Music.
A tape or CD is not used during Mass. The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy writes in Liturgical Music Today (1982), “The liturgy is a complexus of signs expressed by living human beings. Music, being preeminent among those signs, ought to be ‘live.’ While recorded music, therefore, might be used to advantage outside the liturgy as an aid in the teaching of new music, it should, as a general norm, never be used, within the liturgy to replace the congregation, the choir, the organist or other instrumentalists.
We provide 20 minutes of prelude music before the stated time of the ceremony. It is best to allow us to determine the selections for the prelude music according to the specific musicians engaged. Prelude music will contrast musical exuberance with meditative selections.