SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This Thursday marks the start of six performances for the 26th annual ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ in Sioux Falls.
This year, they have two soloists taking part — Carlos Santiago from Nashville, Tennessee, and Heather Lake-Bays from Indianapolis, Indiana.
It takes over 500 professionals and volunteers to make the event happen.
“From the beginning, this is always meant to be an experience for the whole community, for the people of the region regardless of their religious background,” producer and director Mark Conzemius said.
Tuesday, they had practice with soloists, and they bring in different people each year.
“They’re recording artists. They’re now rehearsing their particular solos and duets just with the keyboard, and then tonight the choir will come in, the 35-member orchestra, 80-member choir will come in and do the same songs with the full music,” Conzemius said.
Carlos Santiago was born in Puerto Rico, moved to Florida as a teen and then to Nashville a few years ago. He works at a church as a music director and does other singing work.
“All of my singing history has just kind of brought me to that place and then now here through connections in the session world, friends that recommended me to be here for this really special event,” he said.
The other soloist, Heather Lake-Bays, is from Indianapolis.
“The history being a place of worship and a center of Sioux Falls life, and not just that religiously but as a community, so it’s been a cool thing to be here in this space,” she said.
They have a dress rehearsal Wednesday night for a special audience.
“We have a lot of folks in the community who have pitched together. A bus has been donated to go down to the Bishop Dudley House, The Banquet, St. Francis House, to have the guests come up here, and we feed them a very nice dinner. We do this special performance for them,” Conzemius said.
Conzemius doesn’t believe you can replicate this type of performance.
“When you bring this really beautiful orchestral music, the choir, this message and you have all the people from across the region here. It is very special,” he said.
All the money raised from the event will go toward the ongoing care and maintenance costs for the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House and the Cathedral of Saint Joseph.
While four of the six performances are sold out, you can check for any remaining tickets on their website.