Most histories of ongoing institutions tend to wrap up with a somewhat lame Where-We're-Going ending. In many ways (and especially for an institution like St. Patrick's Cathedral, which like a barometer must always respond to happenings both in New York and the world beyond), this is impossible. It is preferable, maybe, to end a history of music at the Cathedral by sitting in the Cathedral itself, quietly, looking hard at the surroundings. Thinking of that quiet, it's a moving experience to imagine what it would have been like to hear those long-ago singers and organists. Or even longer ago, what it would have been like to hear those 106 boys and young men, processing slowly down the Cathedral's central aisle on a spring day in 1879, making the first music ever heard in the space of St. Patrick's, and hearing absolutely no sound other than their own voices in unison.
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