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‘Every year brings new insights and experience,’ cathedral music director says on 25th anniversary
April 11th, 2017
By Tom Burke


The music program at St. Mary’s Cathedral has a proud history and an exciting future and for the last quarter century, Christoph Tietze has been overseeing both. He marked the anniversary on March 1, Ash Wednesday. “During my 25 years at St. Mary’s Cathedral, I served under four archbishops and four cathedral rectors, each with his own gifts and talents, and every year brought new insights and experience,” Chris told me in an email. “This span of time represents not only more than half of my career as church musician but also more than half of the cathedral’s existence.”


Chris played an anniversary concert at the cathedral April 2. “For my program, I chose to play Cesar Franck’s ‘Three Chorals,’ which are some of my favorite organ repertoire. These pieces represent the pinnacle of French Romantic organ music.” Among Chris’ duties at the cathedral are being the primary organist and choir director for the adult choir and schola and the director of music for cathedral events. Cathedral cantor Stephen Walsh said: “It is an event for anyone to be at a job for 25 years. It is even more of an event for a music director/organist to be at a church for 25 years.” Chris earned a doctorate in sacred music from the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Indiana in 2003. He and his wife Jeanette married in 1994. Chris was a Benemarenti medal recipient in 2011, an award given him by Pope Benedict. The cathedral concert series of which Chris’ anniversary program was a part was begun by organist John Balka 30 years ago and continues weekly at 4 p.m. most Sundays.


CLASSMATES STILL: In just a few weeks, alumnae from Notre Dame High School, San Francisco, come together for an all-school get-together with Mass at Mission Dolores then lunch and talking over the new and the old at the Spanish Cultural Center on Alemany Boulevard. Margie Kelly Dullea plans to be among the revelers. Margie graduated Notre Dame 75 years ago and St. John’s School before that. Margie’s daughter Susie Clarke told me her grandparents wanted Margie “to attend Notre Dame because they thought it would give her the best high school education in San Francisco.” After graduating from Notre Dame, Margie went to junior college and then a job with American Trust, now Wells Fargo, Susie said. After that it was marriage and raising her four children. “My mom is not sure how many gals are left from her class but wants me to bring her to the reunion to see if she can recognize any of her classmates. She is looking forward to celebrating,” Susie said. “She thinks her graduating class consisted of about 50 girls.” Margie is now 91 and “the matriarch of the Kelly family,” Susie said. Margie has visited Ireland several times, has relatives there and loves her Irish roots.


The reunion theme this year is “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Contact martita@pacbell.net.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Sister of St. Joseph of Orange Rita Marie Kropp celebrated her 100th birthday March 20. Father Joseph Gordon, retired pastor St. Francis of Assisi Parish, East Palo Alto, sent in the good news. “Besides teaching at my alma mater, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Daly City, 1937-43; and 1960-66 as principal, teacher and superior, she also taught at Corpus Christi and the predecessor of All Hallows, St Joan of Arc, as it was known in the early-to-mid 1900s, and her years in the Archdiocese of San Francisco exceed 20,” Father Gordon said in his note to this column. “She is a dear friend of mine.” Robert Cogswell, our trusted media resource for the sisters, told me: “Sister Rita lives with a community of sisters in Orange. She attends Mass daily and continues a ministry of community support.”


HAPPY EASTER from all of us at Catholic San Francisco.


Email items and electronic pictures – jpegs at no less than 300 dpi to burket@sfarchdiocese.org or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. My phone number is (415) 614-5634.


From April 13, 2017 issue of Catholic San Francisco.






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