Not just for kids, your seat in the Adult Choirs await!

“Mere words do not suffice when man praises God. Discourse with God goes beyond the boundaries of human speech. Hence by its very nature the liturgy has everywhere called upon the help of music, of singing, and of the voices of creation in the sounds of instruments.” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

In addition to the 1st – 3rd grader Children’s Choir, which is the focus of this website, presently, Holy Family Cathedral is also offering you a chance to sing.  Two ensemble options for adults and young adults that sing on Sundays and Feasts are starting that seek your unique vocal abilities.

The primary musical focus of both those ensembles is on the vast repertoire of chant and sacred polyphony of the Roman Church.

While previous choral experience is helpful, it is not a prerequisite to joining either ensemble at Holy Family Cathedral.

The Solemn Mass Choir rehearses on Thursday evenings from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.
The Dominican Rite Schola rehearses on Friday evenings from 7:00pm to 8:30pm, with an additional rehearsal from 3:00pm to 3:45pm on Sunday afternoons before the 4:00pm Missa Cantata.

If you are interested in undertaking this challenging (yet exciting!) ministry, please contact Mr. Gavin Duncan (gduncan.organist @ gmail . com), Holy Family Cathedral  Director of Music, at 276-3455, to arrange your audition now.

Need motivation? Check out some folks posting recordings of their scholas at . The recordings are accompanied by the scanned scores, and organized by Sunday.   Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed, here’s a promotional video about this year’s CMAA Sacred Music Colloquium

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Breaking News! 11/7/2013 4 pm HFC Children’s Choir resumes

It is with great joy that I would like to announce the reformation of the Holy Family Cathedral’s children’s choir, under the patronage of soon-to-bet-saint Pope John Paul II! 

Join us at Rehearsals.  Rehearsals will commence on Thursday, November 7 at 4:00 p.m. in the Cathedral and will last until 4:45 p.m. 

Initially, the choir will sing one Sunday per month, alternative between the 9:30 a.m. and noon Masses.  While there is not a specific age barrier to entry, children *must* be able to read. 

A dedicated team of parental volunteers will be required to make this endeavor successful. If you would like to help, please contact me at the office (276-6455, as soon as possible.

Yours in Christ,

Gavin Duncan
Director of Music
Holy Family Cathedral


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Today … Cinco de Mayo Send off

Today is our Cinco de Mayo send off for Gary. We will meet downstairs at the Cathedral at 4:00 PM, our usual time.

As usual, please sign this participation waiver.  Copies are also available at the Cathedral.

If the weather is good, we will walk as a group over to the Park Strip. If it is poor weather, we will play indoor games in the church.

In any case, we will eat and celebrate a Cinco de Mayo fiesta as well as Mr. Marks’ gift of talent and service and the childrens’ dedication. Hispanic food items welcome but not required!

Lana Persson has made the suggestion of our group offering a keepsake to Gary before he returns to the lower 48.

Please consider signing up to bring one of these items, or let us know what you’re able to send for the potluck fiesta:

  1.   Two (2) small veggie/fruit platters
  2.   Two (2) boxes of crackers or chips
  3.   Two (2) finger food desserts (brownies etc.)
  4.   Two (2) dozen juice boxes

More creative snacks are welcome.  Let’s stick together and resume our studies in the Fall!

Bon voyage and thank you Gary from your Students and Parent volunteers ….

– Virginia, Lana, Tiffany, Brian

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Children’s Choir this Sunday– Last one this Spring.


Remember, we will sing this Sunday, May 1st at noon Mass. This will be our last Mass together for the Spring Performance Season. Please meet us in the choir loft ready at 11:30 AM on May 1st. Let’s pour ourselves into this season finale as a wonderful farewell performance for the terrific job Gary has done.

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Cinco de Mayo Send off …

Since it’s our final gathering for the year, we will be celebrating on May 5 during the regular rehearsal time. Please reply to standrewsadoration @ with a food item your family can bring. If the weather cooperates, we will walk from the Cathedral to the park strip and play outside. In any case, we will eat and celebrate Cinco de Mayo as well as Mr. Marks’ gift of talent and service and the childrens’ dedication. Hispanic food items welcome but not required!

Lana Persson has made the suggestion of our group offering a keepsake (maybe an Alaskan necktie?) to Gary before he returns to the lower 48. If desired, please come to rehearsal with a few dollars to contribute to cover the cost of the tie.

Please consider signing up to bring one of these items, or let us know what you’re able to send for the potluck party:

  • 2 small veggie/fruit platters
  • 2 boxes of crackers or chips
  • 2 finger food desserts (brownies etc.)
  • 2 dozen juice boxes

More creative snacks are welcome, and we’ll look forward to seeing each of you in the coming weeks.

Let’s stick together and resume our studies in the Fall!

Bon voyage and thank you Gary from your Students and Parent volunteers ….

– Virginia, Lana, Tiffany, Brian

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What’s next: April 28th Rehearsal & May 1st Performance

“Please note that we will not be rehearsing this week during Holy Week.  Our final rehearsal will be held on Thursday, April 28th.  We will sing the following Sunday, May 1st.  I hope to have a party at our last rehearsal or do something special in May as I will be gone at the first of June.”

– Gary

Parents who are interested in helping with organizing the Summer Sounds program for this August please contact Gary Marks at   Parents are asked to come forward to help organize it. 

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Dear Faithful Servants in the Music Ministry and Music Supporters of Holy Family Cathedral

Since September of 2009 we have seen an incredible growth and interest in the music ministry of this cathedral parish.   In a matter of months we witnessed the growth of the Cathedral Choir, established a regular music/liturgical education program (not just a choir) for children, had an incredible experience with a day camp last August called “Summer Sounds” for children and youth, started a choir of exceptional skill called the Missae Cantorei, and began the observance of Eucharistic Adoration with music on the First Friday of each month followed by a Concert of Gratitude that focuses on prayer.   In addition, I am happy to say that the liturgies for the parish have become more centered in prayer and we have increased our education and experience with chanting as prayer; both in participation and listening with meditation.   These things came about because of you, not me.   I planted the seed, watered the idea, nurtured the organization and you have grown into something that can be self sustaining for years to come with dedicated, educated and talented leadership.

Programs that have yet to begin are music for youth and a contemporary music ministry that will focus on the finest aspects of that style for the liturgy.  It is my sincere desire to see a music program at the cathedral that nurtures and encourages people of all ages.  Music is a primary part of spiritual expression, meditation and education.  This is why Gregorian Chant, the sound and experience of musical prayer, has lasted for so many centuries and continues to draw people to the faith today. 

During these brief months I’ve also learned things about myself and my own spiritual needs at this stage in my life.  The most important thing is that the support of a community of family and friends is necessary for my continued happiness outside of my work environment.   Many times during the past year I have felt the need to be closer to my physical home.  My sister and her family live in Tennessee, my own family ties are in Huntington, West Virginia.  I have very close friends in Charlotte, North Carolina.   So when I experienced times of great spiritual and emotional need, that support was so far away.

Therefore I have decided that I have planted seeds for this cathedral parish and it is time for you to take up that work and continue forward.   You will need to stay together and not divide.  That is crucial at this moment.  God will provide the next person to take up the work begun with the careful guidance of the ministers of Holy Family Cathedral in conjunction with your input and commitment to the ministry.

As for me, I have been offered, and have agreed to accept the position of Director of Music Ministries at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky.    Louisville is on the banks of the Ohio River and feels like home as I grew up on the banks of the same river.  It is just a 2.5 hour drive to my hometown and 3 hours to my sister in Nashville.    At my new position I will be blessed with a very large school that has music and drama professionals on staff.  The support staff of the parish also employs a person on the committees of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.  The National Convention is being held in Louisville this July and I will be a participant.   The children of the school just performed the family version of the musical “Grease.”   This is a dynamic parish and is well suited for my skills and desires for ministry.   I ask for your continued support and prayers as well as your understanding.   I am not leaving Holy Family Cathedral because of you.   In fact, I will greatly miss you and miss the community where I was so warmly accepted into the Catholic faith.   Please know that I make this move with significant sadness for my loss here.

In Christ,

Gary Marks

PS:   Fr. Francis will meet with me and the Cathedral Choir on Thursday, April 14, just after the rehearsal.  Anyone interested in attending that meeting is encouraged to come but please understand it will be at the end of rehearsal and a bit late.    At that time we will discuss our concerns for the future of the music program and what steps should be taken to keep the program together.

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Schola Cantorum meets today, March 31, 2011

Thank you Parents for your steady involvement with the children’s Choral singing and sharing their special charism in the Mass.   The choir at March’s Mass was animated and there was a warm and friendly atmosphere.  After Mass, Gary invited the kids to sit close to the organ and feel the rumbling as he opened all the pipes and let rip a pitch perfect FJ.S.Bach-Toccata e Fuga BWV 565-Karl Richter after Mass to everyone’s giddy delight.  Did you know that you are participating in a tradition that dates back to 438 AD.  Learn more here about the rich history of Schola Cantorum.

As a courtesy reminder, today we will meet for Choir Rehearsal at the same place and time in preparation for our participation in Sunday’s Mass on April 3rd.

As we look toward the Summer and the transition to the Summer Sounds Choral program, Schola Cantorum enters into a Summer recess.  Our last practice for the Spring 2011 will be on Thursday, May 19th.

If you have any questions, be sure to call or write Gary Marks (garym @ or Virginia Marquez at (standrewsadoration @

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Performance this Sunday

Thank you everyone for coming out to sled with us, we had a such fun time.  

Remember this Sunday, March 3 is our Monthly performance at Holy Family Cathedral.  With all the Fur Rondy activity, please plan ahead to arrive at 11:20 am in the Choir Loft.

Yes, we have choir practice today but not next week, March 10th, which is Spring break for the Anchorage School District.

Thank you Parents and Volunteers for your persistence and steady commitment through this frigid Alaskan winter.  Please know that through your children, the Schola Cantorum, through song, aspires to invoke a glimmer of the Spirit of God that opens the human soul to the sense of the eternal.

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Sledding party !

We promised fun! The Schola Cantorum will be having a Sledding Party at Kincaid Park’s Chalet on this Thursday, Feb 24 from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm.  Please met at the Chalet public lobby, dress warm and, if you have one, bring a sled.  Be mindful that a wedding reception will be going on in one of the rented portions of the Chalet. In support of our safe environment protocols, this just in. Please complete the attached consent form (or fill out one when you arrivve as Virginia will have extras there).
Holy Family CAthedral Participation Waiver

Many species of wildlife roam free within 1,400-acre Kincaid Park, a setting offering rolling forested hills, stunning views of Mt. Susitna, Fire Island, Mt. Denali, and Mt. Foraker.

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