Music at the Cathedral

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.” Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #112

At the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, we endeavor to provide a model for sacred, Catholic music, firmly planted on the solid foundation of the Church’s vast, rich musical heritage. The music at the Cathedral reflects Church’s wisdom and instructions regarding the style and texts of music within the sacred liturgy. Sacrosanctum Concilium (116) following the Second Vatican Council stated that “the Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as especially suited to the Roman liturgy; therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” Sacred choral music, especially Renaissance polyphony, makes up a majority of the music heard during Masses with choir at the Cathedral, as it creates an environment which is prayerful and reverent.

While many hymns which are a part of the Western Christian Tradition can be heard at all the Masses, the Propers of the Mass (Introit, Offertory, and Communion Antiphons) are sung, either in English and Latin. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, these sung texts are the first option and hold important significance, as they are verses of scripture (most commonly from the Psalms).

The Cathedral Choir is a semi-professional ensemble which sings the 11:15am Solemn Mass each Sunday.  The Cathedral is blessed to employ some of the best professional choral musicians in Charleston, allowing for a vast and complex repertoire. For many feasts or Solemnities, the Cathedral Choir is joined by members of the Charleston Symphony to sing orchestral/choral works.

The Cathedral Choir is also made up of dedicated volunteers who have the ability to learn the weekly Mass repertoire. Please contact the Director of Sacred Music if you are interested in singing as a volunteer. A short audition/vocal check-up will be scheduled at your convenience.


Mr. Scott Powell – Director of Sacred Music

Sunday Mass Schedule with Music

5:30pm Vigil (Saturday)
Mass with cantor and organ, singing hymns from the Catholic Tradition,
with the Propers/Ordinary of the Mass sung in English.

Mass with cantor and organ, singing hymns from the Catholic Tradition,
with the Propers/Ordinary of the Mass sung in English.

11:15am (Solemn Sung Mass)
Mass with the Schola and organ, singing sacred choral music, hymns,
and polyphonic or Gregorian settings of the Mass Ordinary and Propers.

The Bedient Pipe Organ – Opus 22

“In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.”
Sacrosanctum Concilium 120


Specifications can be found her