Easter Vespers: Swan Song for The Athenaeum’s Longtime Music Director
After 32 years leading the Athenaeum Chorale and Seminary Schola in hundreds of services and liturgies, The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West Music Director Anthony DiCello led his swan song at Easter Vespers — the last sung Vespers he will lead for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s seminary and graduate school.
“Since I was responsible for introducing sung ‘Sunday Vespers’ to the Athenaeum community, I was particularly pleased that the music-making of the Athenaeum Chorale, the Seminary Schola and Brass Ensemble was so good that night,” said DiCello. “I leave with such good memories of these services and the wonderful musicians who helped to make them such beautiful sung prayer.”
“Tony has had the biggest impact on liturgical music in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati over the last 30 years,” said Deacon David Klingshirn. “People don’t know that Tony is known nationally and internationally. He was Church Musician of the Year in the United States a few years ago. When people think of Church music, they think of Tony DiCello.”
After Vespers, The Athenaeum held a dual reception in honor of the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program’s 40th anniversary and the Chorale and Schola. “Easter Vespers was a beautiful, uplifting and joyous celebration of the season,” said Dr. Susan McGurgan, director of the LPMP program. “The fact that it was Anthony DiCello’s last time to direct the music at Vespers made it all the more meaningful.”
Carol Kovach, an LPMP graduate (’88) and member of the Chorale since 1986, attended the reception and spoke of DiCello’s legacy. “He has touched so many people over the years,” she said. “Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, have been able to experience the quality of liturgical musicianship that Tony represents. He’s never about performing; Tony is about serving the community through liturgical music.”
Another Chorale member, Fr. Steve Walter, said, “Tony always challenges, enables, and invites us to join our voices to the voice of Christ. I am most grateful for this. It is a real ministry, and it affects not only the Chorale members, but also the persons who come to participate in the liturgical services for which the Chorale sings.”
Although DiCello will retire from his full-time position at the Athenaeum in June, he will still be an important part of the Archdicoese’s liturgical music scene. He will continue as director of music at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, a post he’s held for 21 years..
“I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with, teach and lead so many fine people over the years in sung liturgical prayer,” he said. “In particular, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to help form and train so many priests and seminarians and for my work with the members of the Athenaeum Chorale.
“What a real blessing in my life it has been!”
Photos by Susan Declerq, couresty The Atheneum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West. Click here for a gallery of photos.
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