Christmas at the Cathedral in Sioux Falls reaches a quarter century


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Every family has holiday traditions, and the events and customs which we revisit every year give a framework to our holiday seasons. One of those events is “Christmas at the Cathedral” in Sioux Falls.

“From the feedback that we’ve received, people have taken the time to write us, to call us, to talk to us, they literally say this has become an important part, not just a part, but an important part of our Christmas experience,” producer and director Mark Conzemius said. “This is a time when I really truly allow myself to forget about all the other things.”

Conzemius has produced and directed “Christmas at the Cathedral” since the beginning.

“It means I’m an old guy for one, that’s the reality,” Conzemius said. “It really is quite humbling, and I just realized how blessed I am, how many people have an opportunity to be a part of something from the very beginning and to be a part of it all the way through to see it to this point.”

There have been 113 concerts and more than 95,000 people have filled the pews.

“Thousands more have experienced ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ on four national television broadcasts, and all 25 years have been broadcast regionally,” Conzemius said.

“Living here, making our home here, this ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ beautiful production was really my first opportunity to put down some roots, culturally and musically here in our community,” music director and conductor Dan Goeller said.

Goeller has been in his role since 2009.

“It’s a great privilege really to make music in this beautiful space with so many talented people,” Goeller said. “Over the last more than a decade now that I’ve had the privilege of being the music director, we’ve had a lot of different kinds of programs, explored a lot of different stories, and a lot of different kinds of music.”

“Every year has a unique theme to it where we unpack a particular aspect or perspective of the nativity story,” Conzemius said.

The event has a theatrical element to it as well.

“It’s not simply a concert you’d come to like a choir concert that you might think of, or an orchestra concert, it has all these various elements,” Conzemius said.

Money from the shows goes to maintaining the historic cathedral as well as the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, a shelter in central Sioux Falls.

“When you add beautiful sacred music in a beautiful sacred space at this wonderful time, it really takes you away from what really can be a very busy time of year,” Conzemius says.

But there’s always time for traditions.

  • St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls
  • Stained glass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls

“I would humbly like to believe that this has been a little bit a part of our community celebration, our community coming together across the differences,” Conzemius said.

“I think that ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ is an opportunity to remind us of our humanity,” Goeller said.

“My hope and prayer is that ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ will continue to evolve and become even bigger and better for future generations,” Conzemius said.

“Christmas at the Cathedral” runs through Sunday night, and as of Tuesday night, the only tickets left were for the last performance. You can also watch it on Christmas Day on KELO-TV.

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