Choirs

Cathedral Gallery Singers

The Cathedral Gallery Singers is a very fine mixed choir that is devoted to singing sacred choral music ranging from Gregorian Chant through the best choral music of our own time. They sing at the 10:30 Mass on Sundays from mid-September through mid-June, and for selected major feasts and special liturgical celebrations. The choir rehearses Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 each week during those months.

They have produced two outstanding professional compact disc recordings: Their Sound Goes Forth (2006) and Arise, Shine: Choral Music of Charles Villiers Stanford (2016). A group of four singers drawn from the choir recorded a five-disc set entitled Gregorian Chant Introits for the Liturgical Year (2008).

In November of 2006, the Cathedral Gallery Singers combined with the Viterbo University Concert Choir and full orchestra in performing the Fauré and Duruflé Requiems in a Sesquicentennial Memorial Concert, which was enthusiastically received. In January of 2011, the Gallery Singers performed in concert and at Mass for the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians during their annual gathering, which was held in La Crosse that year. The choir performed with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra in concert at the Cathedral in December of 2011.

The Cathedral Gallery Singers have twice traveled to Europe. In 1994, the choir traveled to Italy, where they sang for the principal Sunday liturgy at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and for additional liturgies at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome and at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. They performed in concert at St. Ignatius in Rome. In 1997 the choir went to France, performing concerts at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and at the Basilica of St. Clotilde in Paris; they also sang for the principal Sunday liturgy at St. Clotilde.

The backgrounds of the choir members range from professional musicians with advanced degrees in music to those with little or no formal music training. The membership includes four paid section leader positions, and all cantors are members of the choir. All choir members are united in their dedication to singing good music well. The membership is warm and friendly, and rehearsals are fast-paced and highly focused. The choir sings about ninety different anthems or motets per year, in addition to a substantial amount of Gregorian Chant and special choral settings of various liturgical items.

We welcome new members who have a voice that fits well into the sound of this particular choir, the personality to work cooperatively in an ensemble, the dedication to work toward our common goal, and a basic ability to read music notation. Membership is open to singers of high school age and older. Interested persons should contact the Music Director to schedule a very simple audition.

Diocesan Chorale

The Diocesan Chorale is based at the Cathedral, and is under the direction of Dr. Luckner. The ensemble sings at such diocesan liturgies as the Ordination to the Priesthood, the Chrism Mass, and other special liturgies, most of which take place at the Cathedral. The Chorale consists of twenty paid singers at its fullest, but smaller ensembles such as quartets or octets are sometimes formed from its members for liturgies that are smaller in scale. The membership is deliberately kept fluid, and singers are normally scheduled for one occasion at a time. Members must be able to learn all music on their own prior to the single rehearsal for each event. Prospective members must have highly developed musical and vocal skills, and must pass a selective audition. The Diocesan Chorale is funded entirely by the Diocese of La Crosse and its director reports directly to the bishop.

Cathedral Handbell Choir

The Cathedral Handbell Choir plays once a month for Saturday afternoon masses, using a fine five-octave set of imported Whitechapel bells that were graciously donated in 1987 by Robert and Helen Daley in honor of their parents, William and Helen Daley. Rehearsals are twice a month, scheduled around members’ availability. New members of high school age or older are welcome and membership is open to anyone with a basic ability to read music. Specific handbell techniques will be taught. Contact the director, Scott Pfitzinger, at pfitzburg@gmail.com for more information.

Scott Pfitzinger (b.1968) has been involved with handbells since 1990. He has rung bass bells and been the composer-in-residence for Embellish Handbell Ensemble (Grand Rapids, MI), Circle City Ringers (Indianapolis, IN), and Great River Ringers (La Crosse, WI), as well as having played in or directed several church handbell choirs. Scott received his Master of Music degree in Composition from Butler University in Indianapolis, where he studied under Michael Schelle and Frank Felice. He has composed or arranged over 50 handbell pieces as well as numerous pieces for choir or chamber ensembles. Since January of 2017, Scott has worked as a librarian at the University of Wisconson – La Crosse. More information is available at http://scottpfitzinger.com/