More from this Issue   |  From the December 2009  Bishop's Bulletin  |   View Headlines  |    Print
Christmas at the Cathedral concerts draw closer; earlier concert to be broadcast nationally again

Above, the “Christmas at the Cathedral” has become a seasonal tradition for many in the area specifically for the theme of the concerts and the big concluding pieces that involve the entire audience.(Photo courtesy, Catholic Foundation for Eastern South Dakota)
by - 12/15/2009

As preparations for the 13th annual “Christmas at the Cathedral” concert to benefit St. Joseph Cathedral continue, the Catholic Foundation for Eastern South Dakota shared that an earlier concert will again be televised nationally on Christmas eve.

“The CBS Television Network contacted us in early fall and asked if they could broadcast ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ to their affiliates on a national broadcast on Christmas eve,” said Mark Conzemius, president of the Catholic Foundation for Eastern South Dakota and producer for the concerts. “This was based on the very positive response they received back in 2006.”

That was the first time CBS nationally broadcast one of the “Christmas at the Cathedral” Concerts entitled “The Sound of Peace.”

“We’re very excited,” said Conzemius, “first, to be sharing the message of Christ’s birth but also to have something that was locally produced here and eminates from St. Joseph Cathedral and to be able to have that shared across the country.”

That first national broadcast was carried by 203 CBS affiliates.

As for this year’s concerts, they will be the first to take place inside the Cathedral during its restoration.

It is also the first time the general public will be allowed inside St. Joseph Cathedral since it was closed last June to begin the interior restoration work.

The concerts theme and title this year is “Hope’s Promise” which continues more than a decade of wonderfully themed productions and sold-out performances.

This year’s concerts will feature the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dan Goeller, along with world class talent with local ties, including soprano Heidi Goeller, tenor Scott Piper, the St. Joseph Cathedral Choir and actor Rod Pierce.

Scott Piper has appeared in the past several concerts as have the St. Joseph Cathedral Choirs.

Heidi Goeller and Rod Pierce are new to this year’s series of concerts.

“Christmas at the Cathedral is an inspiring musical celebration that brings the community together,” said producer/director Mark Conzemius. “It is a multi-media experience that lifts the spirit in preparation for Christmas.”

“Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward the continued preservation, restoration and beautification of St. Joseph Cathedral, one of the most significant civic and sacred landmarks,”said Conzemius.

It is a civic and sacred landmark that has already been seen nationally and will be again this Christmas eve.

Conzemius called the reaction to the first national broadcast three years ago “amazing.”

It generated a great number of telephone calls and messages and e-mails from Boston to Michigan to Denver and Oregon.

Lindsay Bryne of Boston shared “I saw the Christmas at the Cathedral program on Boston was wonderful, inspiring and renewing.”

A phone caller from Michigan told the Catholic Foundation for Eastern South Dakota, so impressed with the Cathedral concert-the professionalism, the talent of the performers including the young people. I can’t think of enough positive adjectives to describe the performance.”

There were numerous other messages and contacts shared with the Catholic Foundation.

Bishop Paul J. Swain will once again provide an opening welcome and a blessing as part of the broadcast which will take the spot of The Late Show with David Letterman on Christmas eve.

This will actually be the third national broadcast for one of the “Christmas at the Cathedral” concers. In 2007, NBC televised one of the concerts.

“We are humbled and honored at the opportunity being given us to share with the rest of the country,” said Conzemius.

The national broadcast will be commerical free as will this year’s Christmas at the Cathedral Concert when it is broadcast on Christmas day on KELO-TV at 6:30 p.m. CST.

For ticket information and to purchase tickets, contact the Catholic Foundation for Eastern South Dakota office toll free at 1-888-246-3386 or

Tickets are also available at all Sioux Falls HyVee Stores.

To keep up with and learn more about the ongoing restoration of St. Joseph Cathedral, visit