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Music at Grace Cathedral

The Choir of Men and Boys

Music is inextricably woven into the liturgy at Grace Cathedral. The Choir of Men and Boys is heard at the 11 a.m. Sunday Eucharist and at the 5:15 p.m. Thursday Evensong. On major feast days brass and timpani or full orchestra augments the Alexander Memorial Organ. Click here to view the current Liturgical Music list. 

Grace Cathedral has had a men's choir since its founding as an institution in 1906, and boys' voices were added in 1913. The centuries-old Anglican tradition of a men and boys choir has since blossomed here, as one of a handful of such choirs in the United States. Currently, the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys is comprised of 12 choirmen and 24 choristers. The boys of the Choir are students at Cathedral School for Boys. The men of the Choir are a professional ensemble. The weekly choir rehearsal on Sunday mornings at 10:15 a.m. is held in the Quire and is open to all visitors. 

The Choir of Men and Boys also perform in a series of much loved Christmas concerts at the Cathedral each December which have become a San Francisco Christmas tradition.

You may purchase CDs of the choir's music online from The Shop at Grace Cathedral.


Cathedral Camerata

The Cathedral Camerata is a mixed-voice ensemble that sings a diverse repertoire of choral literature from sixteenth-century motets to works of the present day. The group offers an excellent opportunity to serve in a vitally important ministry to the community. Cathedral membership is not required. Camerata rehearses on Wednesday evenings and, during the academic year, sings each week at Sunday Evensong, as well as at occasional Sunday Eucharists and diocesan events. Singers should have choral experience, read music, and be able to commit to regular rehearsals. For more information about this choir or to arrange an informal audition, please contact Paul Meier, Assistant Director of Music, at 415-749-6331 or by email.


Cathedral Organ

The Cathedral's organ, given by Harriet Crocker Alexander in memory of her husband Charles B. Alexander, was built by the Æolian-Skinner Company in 1934, with minor alterations in 1952, and additions in 1974 by Casavant Frères.

Its some 7,466 pipes make it one of the largest organs in the Western United States and its beauty one of the finest American classic organs.  In 2010, the organ underwent a major restoration to insure its viability for another 75 years.  Click here to download our organ brochure (PDF).



Visiting Choirs

Our Singing for Pleasure program offers choral groups the opportunity to sing for 30 minutes in the nave, scheduled in advance, Mondays through Thursdays from 1 - 3 p.m., as the Cathedral calendar allows. The selections must be unaccompanied.

In addition, visiting choirs may submit a recent recording to be considered for a pre-service program before the 11 a.m. Choral Eucharist on Sunday mornings. For more information, please contact the Music Department at 415-749-6332 or send an e-mail by clicking here.

The Diana Dollar Knowles Canon Director of Music

Benjamin Bachmann, Canon Director of Music, joined the music staff of Grace Cathedral on August 1, 2005. He is a native of Akron, Ohio, and received his first organ training there with Robert Quade. Ben was the recipient of the Emilie Spivey Scholarship at Clayton College and State University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he studied with Richard Morris. He was Assistant Organist at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, and Associate Director and composer for Impromptu, a civic choir in Atlanta. He received his Master's Degree at the Royal College of Music, where he studied with Margaret Phillips. At the Royal College, he was the recipient of the Walford Davies Organ Prize in 2004. During his time in London, Ben was Organ Scholar at St. Paul's Knightsbridge and Farm Street Church. Ben was made a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists in 2008. He has participated in numerous RSCM choir training camps, worked with conductors including George Guest, David Willcocks, John Rutter, and David Hill.  Ben was appointed Canon Director of Music on May 6, 2010.

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