President James F. Mellichamp has performed at some of the most famous cathedrals in the world, ranging from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. And on Jan. 9, he added the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to his list.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles was built in 2002, replacing the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana after it was severely damaged from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The original building couldn’t be rebuilt so the Catholic Diocese decided to build a new one and held a competition for famous architects to design a new building. Today, it is the mother church for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and houses the 89th largest pipe organ in the world.
“It is really an amazing facility because of the architecture, the sound in the room, and a relatively new pipe organ,” said Mellichamp.
The cathedral hosts a concert every Wednesday where organists from around the world have performed. Since the cathedral is so popular and is always in use, Mellichamp had very little time to practice before the show and not every organ is built the same.
“With pipe organs, they’re all very different. The rooms are different so the way the organ sounds in the space is different so it takes more time to settle in and get comfortable,” said Mellichamp.
Thankfully, Mellichamp got to practice his pieces on the organ twice before his recital. Mellichamp performed the same program he had done at St. Patrick’s Cathedral back in June, which was comprised of American, English, and French pieces. Mellichamp commented that even though he still gets nervous, he tries to channel his nervous energy into making an exciting performance.