History of the Cathedral Concert Series ~ a beginning.


In 1975, after delays and obstacles were overcome, the project of re-building the Historic Matthias Schwab Organ (c. 1859) from Old St. Joseph's Church, 12th and Greenup Streets in Covington, was completed. When the parish of St. Joseph was combined with that of St. Mary's Cathedral at 12th and Madison Ave. in Covington. the old parish church of St. Joseph was demolished. Through the cooperative efforts of Bishop Richard Ackerman, Bishop of Covington, and Robert Schaffer, Music Director and Organist of St. Mary's Cathedral, the organ at St. Joseph's was dismantled and carried -- pipe-by pipe, piece-by-piece -- the two blocks across 12th St. to its new home: the West Gallery of the spacious Gothic Cathedral, mother church of the Diocese of Covington.

To celebrate the completion of the organ's reconstruction - all done by volunteer artisans - a concert was planned. It was a duplication of the final concert heard in St. Joseph's Church before its closure. Bishop Ackerman kindly agreed to participate, and goodly natured, climbed the formidable winding staircase to bless the organ in its new home. The concert had a very large and appreciative audience. This brought forward in Schaffer's mind the idea of continuing the concerts on a monthly basis (excluding the hot summertime since the Cathedral had no air conditioning).

By 1978, Dr. Schaffer was receiving requests from area musicians to be included in the performing ranks
of what had already become an increasingly attractive series.

The Series has been, and is still devoted virtually to music written (or intended) for a sacred space. The standard secular repertoire of concert halls is not the usual fare presented on the Cathedral Concert Series. Even professional engagements; i.e., Cincinnati May Festival, Vocal Arts Ensemble, and various other groups from regional, national, and international localities present programs essentially drawn from the great store of classic Western Sacred Music.