The Diocesan Choir of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, which covers 33 northeast Texas counties, will present the second annual St. Cecilia Concert of sacred music at 4 p.m. Sunday in honor of the patroness of church music.
St. Cecilia was martyred in the second century in Rome for being a Christian.
The concert will be at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, at the corner of Front Street and Broadway Avenue in Tyler.
The Diocesan Choir, which was formed last year, comprises singers from the cathedral, Sts. Peter and Paul Chapel in Tyler and other parishes throughout the diocese.
Brian Braquet, cathedral director of music and liturgy, who will accompany the choir on the organ, said the purpose of the concert is “to present some beautiful sacred music and for the glory of God.”
His wife, Dianna Braquet, director of both the Diocesan Choir and the Cathedral Choir, said every year the choristers learn new music that poses a great challenge. The Diocesan Choir has 27 members who sing soprano, tenor, alto or bass.
Free and open to the public, Sunday’s concert will last about 40-45 minutes and is being held close to the St. Cecilia Feast Day, which is Nov. 22.
The concert will begin with two movements of “Missa Brevis in F” by Andrea Gabrieli, a prolific Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance.
The Diocesan Choir also will perform four selections from its presentation in the Rome International Choral Festival last summer with about 200 other singers. The Diocesan Choir was the only adult choir to perform at the festival and represented Texas after practicing all last year for it.
Dianna Braquet said one of the choir’s favorite pieces that it will perform during the concert is “Caritas Et Amor” composed by Z. Randall Stroope.
“When we were in Rome, Dr. Stroope was our conductor, so we had a great opportunity to see how he interpreted the music that he wrote,” she said.
Other selections that the Diocesan Choir performed in Rome that it will present during the concert are “Kyrie Eleison” by Louis Vierne, “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl and “O Clap Your Hands” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The choir will break into two groups to sing side by side, back and forth to each other “Ave Maria.”
Dianna Braquet said it is an extremely peaceful, lyrical, beautiful piece of music that Biebl wrote while incarcerated as a prisoner of war in the United States. He had been forced to serve as a German soldier during World War II, but was captured and brought to the U.S.
She said “Kyrie Eleison” is a French piece that was one of the last music selections that Vierne wrote. The music portrays his broken heartedness over having been dismissed as organist at Notre Dame Cathedral in France. Vierne died of a massive heart attack while he sat playing “Kyrie Eleison” for the last time at Notre Dame.
The Diocesan Choir also will sing “Come With Rejoicing” by the great composer George Frideric Handel and other pieces.