Knapp Conducts in National Cathedral
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Knapp Conducts in National Cathedral

University of St. Thomas professor of vocal and choral studies, Dr. Brady Knapp, was invited to Washington, D.C., with Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church choir for a choral residency with the Washington National Cathedral. Knapp, along with six UST music students and alumni, sang during four church services from July 25-28. See the video of the choir’s worship service.

The Washington National Cathedral, built more than 100 years ago, regularly hosts funerals and celebrations for national dignitaries. The Cathedral has its own choir during the year, but during summer breaks, it invites outside choirs to perform during worship services. 

 “You have to send a recording of the group to be selected,” Knapp said. “This year, we were one of a handful of visiting choirs selected. We led music for Sunday morning worship services, and we sang Evensong services (sung evening prayer) for over 1,000 worshipers.”

Knapp began working at Palmer Memorial 16 years ago during his doctoral studies at Rice University. Since his employment with UST in 2007, Knapp has connected UST music students with Palmer Memorial. The parish offers sacred music internship and scholarships for students interested in musical studies.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime and enriching opportunity for my choristers and UST students to perform in the Cathedral,” Knapp said. “I certainly appreciate all of the donors who sponsored our students, allowing them to experience this incredible tour.” 

Knapp was accompanied by 49 singers, including his two sons, Emerson and Theodore. Also from the UST community were students Bethany Goldson, Alexandra Summerour, Christian Mondragon, Marissa Sears, Meeka Opong and Adrienne Copeland, along with Sigurd Ogaard, new-appointed adjunct organ instructor and Alan Austin, adjunct violin instructor.  

 “Performing with Palmer was incredible,” Copeland said.  “We had been rehearsing for months and we were very well prepared. The entire experience was so surreal.”

The group members also toured the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during their visit.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity, and I consider it a real honor to lead a group at the National Cathedral,” Knapp said. “It was a fantastic tour.”

Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church is a diverse and urban parish located across the street from Rice University, known for serving meals to homeless daily. The choirs of Palmer have made four international tours to the United Kingdom, several domestic tours, four compact discs and have been featured on National Public Radio’s show 'With Heart and Voice'  on several occasions during Knapp’s tenure. For more information, contact Dr. Brady Knapp at 713-525-3564.

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