Performance of Faure’s Requiem Mass set for Nov. 17 at cathedral

Singers and students (16 and older) from all parishes are sought to join the Diocesan Festival Choir for its second annual free performance at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.

A great singing voice is not required; the only requirement is that you enjoy singing with others. There is no cost to participate.

The choir will perform Gabriel Faure’s Requiem Mass with orchestra at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17.

Last November, over 80 singers from various parishes combined voices for a performance of Charles Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, in Latin, before an audience of over 400 at the cathedral.

Megan Fallon, an organizer of the choir, said Gounod wrote a lot of beautiful church music and it can’t be done in best form without many voices and a substantial orchestra. The choir’s performance of the St. Cecilia Mass last year, she said, “was a stunning and inspiring experience for performers and audience.”

Fallon, a member of the Cazenovia College/Community Choir, hopes to add singers and have more parishes represented for this year’s performance.

The idea for the choir, she said, grew out of modeling a musical concert after the way public schools put together all-county music concerts.

Fallon said the annual concerts are a good way to thank and feature the singers and organists who give so much time to parishes and the diocese; to bring some of the most beautiful pieces of music written for the Mass to the cathedral for the enjoyment of the performers and the audience; and to perform beautiful pieces with a large number of voices.

The choir’s director is Peter Ciarelli, retired music director of Cazenovia High School. He got his start in music as a 10-year-old soloist for a Long Island boys choir. At that young age he sang a solo with his choir on the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at a Mass celebrated by Pope Paul VI.

Ciarelli met his wife, Kathy, at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam. Kathy will be the piano accompanist for all rehearsals.

Another participant is Frank Schultz, music director of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Syracuse. He is hoping for a total of 100 adult singers with a 20-voice boys choir, and an 18-piece orchestra.

The idea, he said, is to promote Catholicism with Catholic music. He hopes the Diocesan Festival Choir can offer annual events to bring some of the great old Masses to the cathedral and also, at some point, to the basilica and other locations.

Other participating music directors include Steven Medicis of Our Lady of Hope in Syracuse; Armand DiScenna of St. Mary Church in Cortland, and Alan Lynch of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

All of the directors collaborate, along with their many loyal singers.

While it is understood that attendance at every rehearsal might be difficult, interested participants should be able to attend the majority of rehearsals and the dress rehearsal. Rehearsals will be at Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School, 6653 Kirkville Road, East Syracuse, and a practice website will be available.

Practices are set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. on these Sundays: Sept., 29, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 3, and Nov. 10. The dress rehearsal is 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the cathedral.

To sign up, go to For more information, contact Megan Fallon at

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