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Sacred Music at St. John Cantius


Many people have enjoyed sacred choral-orchestral repertoire in concert halls. At St. John Cantius Church you live a different experience: beautiful choirs and orchestras come through the Liturgy into the presence of Him who is thrice holy and transcendent. 


At St. John Cantius Church you can enjoy sacred music as an integral part of the solemn liturgy: in addition to the inspired Gregorian melodies, both the many artists who made sacred music their chief concern—Pier Luigi da Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, Tomás Luis de Victoria—and many of the great composers—from Handel to Bach, from Mozart to Schubert, from Beethoven to Berlioz, from Liszt to Verdi—who have given us works of the highest inspiration in this field.


Except when otherwise indicated, Gregorian Chant propers and ordinaries of the Mass  are sung every Sunday at the 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM according to the 2002 Missale Romanum, and the 12:30 PM according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. Music is sung by the parish choirs and in Latin unless otherwise noted.


Our Choirs


The Resurrection Choir and Orchestra

The Resurrection Choir and Orchestra celebrates the great tradition of classical liturgical music as a living tradition within the Roman Catholic Church. Members come from both professional musical backgrounds as well as some non-professionals who enjoy classical works of composers such as Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert. Singers are motivated not merely by a desire to perform classical works, but more importantly, for the glory of God—the reason for which these works were originally composed.


Cantate Domino Choir

The Cantate Domino Choir specializes in sacred liturgical music composed for treble voices, singing compositions by composers like Jasquin Des Prez, Gabriel Rheinberger, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, as well as many others. This chorus of adult women sings several times during the liturgical year on Sundays and feast days. 


Saint Cecilia Choir

The Choir of Saint Cecilia specializes in Renaissance polyphony. Numbering from eight to sixteen voices, the choir also sings modern works that echo the beauty and austerity of sacred Renaissance music. The choir sings for several major feasts during the Church year and throughout Holy Week. A number of CD recordings of sacred liturgical music have been produced by the Saint Cecilia Choir.


Saint Cecilia Choir and Orchestra

The Saint Cecilia Choir and Orchestra presents a wide variety of choral and orchestral sacred music. This ensemble presents sacred musical works for special occasions, liturgies, and concerts. As musical ambassadors inspiring the hearts of listeners far and wide, the many recordings have been heard on National Public Radio, Chicago’s WFMT, the Air Maria Radio Network, and Relevant Radio.


The St. Gregory the Great Schola Cantorum

St. Gregory the Great Schola Cantorum is a schola of men who sing Gregorian Chant at all the High Masses on Sunday. The Schola chants the propers and ordinaries of the Mass from the 1962 Liber Usalis in accord with the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.


Magnificat Choir
A choir of mixed voices composed of high school students and young adults singing Gregorian chant, polyphonic choral music, and modern choral works. The Magnificat Choir primarily sings a cappella works, but occasionally sings other music with organ and instruments. This choir sings music by Palestrina, Victoria, Lassus, Durufle, Bartolucci, Part, and others. Rehearsals are on Saturdays at 9:30 am. 


St. Nicholas and St. Hildegard Choir

This choir is for grade school aged boys and girls and focuses on singing hymns, part-singing, Gregorian chant, and some polyphony. Among the main goals of this choir is development of musicianship, sight-singing, music history, and the spirituality of sacred music. Rehearsal are on Saturdays at 9:30 am.


Holy Innocents Choir
This is a choir for young, beginner musicians, designed for young children (age 6 and up). The children learn to match pitch, develop rhythmic skills, sing intervals, etc. This introductory children’s choir is designed to develop the music skills of boys and girls so that they might advance into the St. Nicholas Choir or the St. Hildegard Choir. Rehearsals are on Saturdays at 9:30 am.


Meet our Music Staff


Massimo Scapin

Director of Liturgical Music

Massimo Scapin is an Italian conductor of both opera and the symphonic repertoire, a composer, and pianist.

He holds diplomas in piano and in choral conducting from the State Conservatory of Music in Perugia, Fellowship diplomas in orchestral conducting and in composition from the National College of Music in London, and the baccalaureate in religious sciences magna cum laude from the Pontifical Lateran University.


Scapin played piano from age 8. He attended the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, where he took courses, among others, in gregorian chant with Giacomo Baroffio and composition with Domenico Bartolucci; the International Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg, where he studied piano with Sergio Perticaroli; and the Accademia Musicale Pescarese, where he studied conducting with Donato Renzetti.

Massimo appeared as guest conductor and pianist in Europe, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, and the United States. He was conductor at the Musical Theatre of Galaţi in southeastern Romania (2001-03) and at the Musical Theater of Karaganda in central Kazakhstan (2008). From 1996 to 2008, Scapin conducted the symphonic concerts of the Portuguese Cultural Institute in Rome, some of them recorded on 14 CDs, including his Te Deum for tenor, baritone, chorus and orchestra, on commission for the aforementioned Institute.


From Christmas 1999 - 2010, Scapin worked as the Assistant Music Director of the Sistine Chapel Choir. On the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations commissioned him to compose and conduct music for the Mass celebrated by Pope St. John Paul II at Rome’s Olympic Stadium for the Jubilee of Sports People. He was also a Vatican Radio commentator and entertainer. He became assistant professor in vocal literature and piano accompanying at the Catholic University of Daegu, in southeastern South Korea, in 2011 and director of music at the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2013. In October 2013 Massimo took the podium as associate conductor of the Karaganda Symphony Orchestra. Since July 2019, he has become the Resident Composer for the Sistine Chapel Choir.


Corrado Cavalli


Corrado Cavalli, a native of Turin, Italy, has been the organist of St. John Cantius since June, 2015. He studied at the National Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi” in Turin where he was awarded two Masters Degrees, one in organ (summa cum laude), and another in Choral Conducting and Choral Composition (summa). He attended master-classes held by the notable professors at the “Haarlem International Academy for organists” in the Netherlands. 

Among his several honors and prizes, he won the 12th National Organ Competition “Città di Viterbo” (Pinchi Prize) and he has been recently awarded the Brownson Fellowship for his Doctoral Studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. As organ soloist, he has performed in many international festivals, cathedrals, and concert halls in Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, U.K, Poland, Principauté de Monaco, Slovakia, and in the United States. He has played with such orchestras as the Italian National Symphonic Orchestra of Rai, the French “Ensemble Orchestral des Alpes et de la Mer,” and the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino. He has recorded for Biretta Books, De Montfort, AimHigher, Sony Classical, Elegia Records, and ElleDiCi music labels, and he has published for Biretta Books and for the Italian edition, “Armeiln musica.” As a musicologist and a professor of music, he has given master classes and lectures on Italian organ music literature, with a focus on the repertoire of the Romantic and Contemporary periods, with a particular emphasis on the music of Torino. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists.


Pipe Organs at St. John Cantius


Casavant Frères Pipe Organ, Opus 1130


The main pipe organ at St. John Cantius was made by Casavant Frères, the world’s largest organ company, which was founded in 1879 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada. Originally crafted in 1926 for St. James United Methodist Church (Kenwood) on South Ellis Avenue, Casavant’s Opus 1130 is a large four manual organ built on a grand scale. 

Sanctuary Continuo Organ Specification

Built by Oberlinger (2005)

The Sanctuary organ is one of the last instruments built by the German firm of Oberlinger. The organ was blessed by the Most Reverend Basil Meeking, Bishop Emeritus of Christchurch, New Zealand, during Bach Night, an all-Bach concert of chamber and vocal music, on May 14, 2005.

Wurlitzer Theater Organ

Built by Wurlitzer (1927), Opus 1818

St. John Cantius Church is proud to own a beautifully restored Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ. It was built in 1927 and is listed as Opus 1818. This organ was originally installed in the Terrace Theatre at 361 West 23rd Street in 1927, and, in 1935, it was moved to the WOR Radio Studio, 1440 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10018. After restoration, it was installed on the stage of the Church Hall at St. John Cantius in 2012.


Patrons of Sacred Music


The Patrons of Sacred Music at St. John Cantius work within the A.M.D.G. Foundation to raise funds to support the flourishing of sacred art and music at St. John Cantius. Contact us to find out how you can help support the music programs at St. John Cantius Church.

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