Happening this weekend are performances of this year’s Christmas at the Cathedral in Sioux Falls, an event that over the years has become part of the KELOLAND holiday season. 2019’s first Christmas at the Cathedral performance happened Wednesday.
Before the concert there was a meal, and then there was the show.
Christmas at the Cathedral is put on by the Catholic Community Foundation of Eastern South Dakota, and it benefits both its namesake, the Cathedral of St. Joseph, and the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House shelter.
“We feel that it’s really important to be able to bring the folks that we’re actually presenting this concert for, bring them and let them actually experience it, ’cause many of them won’t have an opportunity maybe to attend one of the concerts,” said Jan Feterl, director of special events for the Catholic Community Foundation of Eastern South Dakota.
Guests for the performance on Wednesday came from the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, the St. Francis House, The Banquet, Our Lady of Guadalupe parish and the Cathedral parish. Typically a ticket to Christmas at the Cathedral costs money. On Wednesday night, this experience was free.
“I can’t think of anything better that we can do through our concert series than to open it with this opportunity to serve these individuals,” Feterl said.
One of the guests is Shane Dahl, who is a guest at the St. Francis House. This Christmas season brings a milestone for him.
“I’m a recovering addict,” Dahl said. “Got a year clean on December 26.”
By his own admission, if you sat near him during the concert, maybe you heard him, too.
“I loved it; it was amazing,” Dahl said. “I don’t know if you heard me or not, but I was hooping and hollering. I loved the beauty of the whole thing. The Cathedral is such a beautiful church, but the warmth and the beauty of the concert itself, with all that music in sync, that’s what it’s about.”
The music here moves you.
“I was about to start to cry, that’s why I had to go back downstairs,” Billy Stehlik said.
“One feels the Christmas spirit, and aside from that, well one feels peace being in the house of God,” Brenda Ramirez said in Spanish.
“It was something fantastic for me, it was something new,” Maria Zuñiga said in Spanish. “And it was something that made me feel many things, because my skin bristled at the moment the orchestra began to play.”
Following the concert, Christmas cookies were waiting for the guests. The whole experience — the spaghetti, the concert, the feeling of being in this room right now — brings Dahl a kind of peace.
“Makes me feel complete,” he said.