Our choirs are the foundation of the cathedral’s music program. They offer sung reflections and prayers, a rich tapestry of sound, woven through each worship service. Choral repertoire is drawn from early plainchant to the 21st century. Whether on a Sunday morning, or special holy days such as Christmas and Easter, all are welcome to hear these beautiful musical offerings. Experiencing music in our sacred space, with its unique acoustics, soaring columns and jewel-like stained glass windows is a feast for the ears, eyes and soul.
The Choir of Men and Boys
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 choir of men and boys 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 18 choristers. The choristers are students at Cathedral School for Boys. The Men of the Cathedral Choir are a professional ensemble.
The Choir of Men and Boys are heard at Choral Eucharist on Sundays at 11 am, and at Evensong on Thursdays at 5:30 pm. Choir rehearsal on Sundays at 10:15 am is held in the Quire and is open to visitors.
The Choir of Men and Boys perform in a series of much-loved Christmas concerts, a Christmas tradition for many here in San Francisco. In recent years, the choir has toured to Spain, Italy, and Salisbury, England.
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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 serves an important ministry to the community and everyone is welcome to audition. Singers should have choral experience, read music and be able to commit to regular rehearsals. Membership in the congregation is not required.
The Camerata is currently on hiatus, as the cathedral gradually regathers our many liturgies. However, we warmly welcome hearing from any prospective singers so we may keep in touch as the group eventually resumes rehearsals. Please contact the Music Department by email or at 415-749-6332.
Currently suspended until the cathedral reopens to visitors, our Sing for Pleasure program will offer choral groups the opportunity to sing for 30 minutes in the cathedral Nave as the building’s calendar allows. The selections must be unaccompanied. Visiting choirs may also submit a recent recording to be considered for a pre-service program before the 11 am Choral Eucharist on Sunday mornings. For more information, please contact the Music Department by email or at 415-749-6332.
Music Department Staff
The Diana Dollar Knowles Canon Director of Music
Benjamin Bachmann received his first organ training in his native Akron, Ohio 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 Im promptu, 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 and worked with conductors including George Guest, David Willcocks, John Rutter, and David Hill.