by Mike Corrigan
The Cathedral and the Arts annual holiday offering, the Candlelight Christmas Concert at St.
John's Cathedral, is a perennial favorite that's anything but predictable. "It's the same format
each year," says Cathedral and the Arts Executive Director Gertrude Harvey. "But there will
be different music each time. You can't do the same thing forever and ever, but it really seems to be on the high side of popularity, so we'll keep doing this format for a while."
The event features the broad talents of producer/arranger William Berry and the Clarion Brass Choir along with members of the Spokane Area Children's Chorus, soprano Naomi Hara, Linda Siberts on piano, and Janet Satre Ahrend on organ.
Says Harvey, "William Berry hates it when I use the word 'tradition' with his concert -- I do call it that in our marketing because it is a holiday tradition for a lot of people -- but he tries to be a little more cutting-edge with music than 'tradition' implies."
Berry's notoriety as a composer and arranger reaches well beyond the Inland Northwest.
"Last year, when the Canadian Brass were through here on tour, they heard his CD, which was just out," Harvey says. "They were so excited about it that after they got back to New York, they bought the music and performed it in their sold-out concerts in Lincoln Center last year. Since then, the word has gotten around and he is selling music charts to lots of others now. He actually went back and heard one of their concerts. They got him into a sold-out show. So he was thrilled. It was the first time he had heard his music performed by somebody else.
"We thought it was kind of noteworthy," she adds, "that Spokane was exporting culture to New York."
Speaking of Spokane holiday traditions, they don't get any more traditional than the big daddy of local holiday traditions: Gonzaga University's Candlelight Concert is now in its 115th consecutive year. Two concerts will be held on successive nights at the beautiful St. Aloysius Cathedral on the GU campus and will feature the talents of the Gonzaga University Choir, the Men's Chorus, Women's Chorus and the GU Brass Ensemble.