A Memorable Wedding Service – Toronto Wedding Christmas Singer

The Cathedral of the Transfiguration is a beautiful church that I had the privilege of singing at when I was a young choir school lad. It was around 1992 when I was a member of the Tenor and Bass Choir at St. Michael’s Choir School and we performed at a service at the Cathedral.  I can’t remember the details of the service, but I do remember being in awe as I turned off of Victoria Square Boulevard in Markham and started driving up to the Cathedral. It is quite a spectacular sight as the architecture of the church was rather stunning. Plus the size of the Cathedral is rather imposing (in a good way) and one cannot help but be in awe as you drive closer and are able to make out the fine details of the structure.  The Cathedral resembles a Greek Orthodox church with three massive pillars that greet you as you make your way to the entrance. This architectural influence is understandable as the Cathedral, which is owned by the Slovak Greek Catholic Church Foundation and was built to serve Slovak Catholics in the Greater Toronto Area.

If my memory serves my correctly, the church had not been fully completed back in 1991. It was designed and funded by Stephen Boleslav Roman, who was a mining executive that immigrated to Canada at the age of 16 from Slovakia. Unfortunately, he died in 1988 before the completion of the church.

I was quite surprised when I received an email this past summer from a bride who asked me to sing at her wedding at the Cathedral of The Transfiguration on September 6, 2019. In the Roman Catholic community, you don’t hear of the church being active or hosting many ceremonies. As a result, there was a certain excitement about singing at this cathedral that I had last visited over 28 years ago. Despite having the privilege of singing at some of the most beautiful cathedrals (e.g. St. Michael’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Basilica, Basilica of the Sacred Heart in South Bend, Indiana USA) I was still very excited about my return to the Transfiguration. However, I was somewhat perplexed when I was told that my accompanist would have to bring a keyboard and I would have to bring my own microphone and PA System. When asked if the church had an organ, I was told there was one present but that it was not functional. This even had me more intrigued as I started to wonder what was the the condition of the cathedral if its main instrument had not been maintained.

I remember arriving at the Cathedral of the Configuration around an hour and a half prior to the start of the wedding on Sep 6th. My accompanist was in the vehicle with me and as soon as we turned off of Victoria Square Boulevard onto the long driveway leading up to the church, my accompanist immediately grabbed his phone and started taking pictures. I was convinced that they purposely set back the church from the street so that the excitement would build as people began to approaching the cathedral. The church was absolutely stunning, however, as we drove closer, it was obvious that there had been some issues with the maintenance of the exterior of the building as some of the stairs along the side of the church had tape clearly indicating that it was not operational. When we went inside, a number of sections were taped off as well and despite the church being over 30 years old, the bathroom appeared to still be under construction. This still did not take away from the beauty of the cathedral and as we entered the building, it was even more breathtaking. For some reason, I had envisioned the church having pews, however, there were a number of individual chairs that had been laid out for people to sit.

Luckily the church had a sound system and due to the interior being marble, the resonance and sound was beautiful. We connected the keyboard to the church’s PA system and went through a couple of the songs for a sound check. I was very excited about performing for the service and was eager to provide a music program that would be as stunning as the atmosphere and ambience of the Cathedral.

The music program was very well received by the family of the bride and groom as we were given many accolades. The ceremony was quite memorable as it had, in my opinion, the perfect combination of a beautiful setting and great music. Hopefully it will be much sooner than 28 years before I am able to return to the Cathedral to sing for another service.

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