Cathedral Events

Friday, July 4, 2014 11 AM

Annual Independence Day Organ Recital

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Betts and

Christopher Betts and Benjamin Straley, organists, with Washington Symphonic Brass and the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters, hosted by the presenter of American Public Media’s Pipedreams, Michael Barone.


Patriotic Brass Prelude

Fanfare for the Common Man – Copland

The National Anthem

America the Beautiful

When the Saints Go Marching In – American trad., arr. John Rutter

American Revolutionary War Medley – arr. Jari Villaneuva

Patriotic Rhapsody – Charles Callahan

Toccata – Leo Sowerby

Ouverture, from Baroque Suite – Richard R. Webster

Shenandoah – arr. James Erb

Battle Hymn of the Republic – arr. Peter Wilhousky

The Stars and Stripes Forever (organ duet) – John Philip Sousa, arr. Elizabeth and Raymond Chenault

Visiting on July 4?

If you plan to celebrate Independence Day on the Close, we offer this information to help you plan your visit.

Safety of all visitors to the Close is our primary concern on this festive occasion. Because there are many pedestrians crossing the roads as people arrive to watch the fireworks, we will impose the following vehicular restrictions:

  • No parking will be permitted on South Road after 5 p.m.
  • No vehicular traffic will be permitted on South Road, Lych Gate Road, and Pilgrim Road after 5 p.m.
  • Restrooms will be available on level B2 of the garage.
  • There will be no admittance to the Cathedral building after 6 p.m.
  • The Cathedral garage will remain open until 11:00 p.m.; event parking rates will be in effect ($10).

PLEASE NOTE: alcoholic beverages and fireworks are prohibited on the Cathedral Close (grounds).

About Michael Barone

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Building upon a curiosity which began in his teens, Michael Barone has been involved with the pipe organ for more than 50 years. As host and senior executive producer of American Public Media’s Pipedreams, he is recognized nationally for his outstanding contributions to the world of organ music. Pipedreams began in 1982, and remains the only nationally distributed weekly radio program exploring the art of the pipe organ. Michael’s talent and commitment have been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Guild of Organists President’s Award in 1996, the Distinguished Service Award of the Organ Historical Society in 1997, and the 2001 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in Broadcasting. In November 2002 he was selected for induction to the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.

Not to be confused with the District’s other notable Michael Barone (senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner), this Michael Barone has served on local and national committees of the American Guild of Organists and Organ Historical Society (of which he also served two years as president). He has been a judge for national and international organ competitions (Flint, Michigan; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Twin Cities, Minnesota; Calgary, Alberta, Canada), has contributed published articles and reviews to Diapason, Symphony (American Symphony Orchestra League), and the American Organist magazines, and since the year 2000 has organized and led annual group ‘organ tours’ to destinations in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Pipedreams, broadcast on more than 140 stations nationwide, also can be accessed 24/7 online at

Recent Cathedral Appearances

About Christopher Betts

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As Organist and Associate Director of Music at Washington National Cathedral, Christopher Betts plays the organ at Cathedral services, assists with directing the Cathedral Choirs, directs Cathedral Voices (volunteer choir), coordinates the welcome of visiting choirs, and manages the organ recital series.

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Recent Cathedral Appearances

About Benjamin Straley

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Benjamin Straley joined the staff of Washington National Cathedral in the summer of 2012 as assistant organist. In July 2014 he was named organist and associate director of music. Prior to this appointment, he was organ scholar at Trinity Church, New Haven, as well as director of music for the Episcopal Church at Yale.

Straley was an undergraduate at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he was a student of Marilyn Keiser. At the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, he studied organ with Martin Jean and improvisation with Jeffrey Brillhart. In addition to his musical studies, he also pursued theological education while at Yale, completing a Master of Divinity and a Diploma in Anglican Studies. His playing accomplishments include the Baker Prize, awarded to incoming organ students at Yale deemed to be in the top 1 or 2 percent of young organists in the country, as well as being one of the few Americans in the entire history of the Haarlem Organ Festival invited to compete in its prestigious improvisation contest. During his time at Yale, he was also awarded the Downes Prize for excellence in the public reading of Scripture and of hymns, as well as the Thomas Phillips Memorial Award for exceptional achievement and further promise in the study and practice of Anglican liturgy.

Recent Cathedral Appearances

About U.S. Navy Sea Chanters

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The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters is the official chorus of the United States Navy. The ensemble performs a wide variety of music, ranging from traditional choral music, including the sea chantey, to Broadway musicals. Under the leadership of Chief Musician Georgina L. Todd, the Sea Chanters appear throughout the United States and often perform at the White House, the Vice President’s Home, and for other Washington dignitaries.

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Recent Cathedral Appearances

About Washington Symphonic Brass

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The Washington Symphonic Brass is comprised of some of the finest professional musicians in the Washington/Baltimore area. While the members are in constant demand for orchestral, solo, and chamber music performances, they have assembled to play some of the great literature written for large brass ensemble. Conductor Milt Stevens and Trumpeter Phil Snedecor formed this group of players out of their love of and excitement about this fine literature. Individually, the members of the WSB have performed with many of the nation’s best orchestras, such as the National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among other illustrious institutions. The WSB performs throughout the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan area, appearing at some of the great performance spaces on the east coast. Specializing in compositions written for large brass ensemble and percussion (four trumpets, four horns, four trombones, euphonium, tuba, timpani, and percussion instruments) with organs, choruses, and other instruments optional, the varied repertoire of the Washington Symphonic Brass covers five centuries.

Recent Cathedral Appearances

Parking at the Cathedral

Parking in the Cathedral’s underground garage is free on Sundays for services and organ recitals; parking for concerts and programs is available for an event-parking fee. Learn more about parking options for individuals and groups.