Dr. John A. Romeri, Director of Music Ministries and Organist
John A Romeri in December 2015 became the Director of Music and Organist for Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange California. John serves as the first Music Director for this newly formed Cathedral Parish where he will develop the cathedral music program and assist the parish as they prepare to move into the former Crystal Cathedral building. He is the conductor of the newly formed Cathedral Choir, Vietnamese Cathedral Choir, Diocesan Children’s Choir and the Diocesan Adult Choir. He is also the host of the radio program, “Music from the Tower” featuring the very best in Sacred and Classical Music, available on the radio each Saturday evening or on the website, ChristCathedralMusic.org. The cathedral organ is the fifth largest organ in the world and is being restored by the Ruffatti Pipe Organ Builders of Padova, Italy. The Diocese of Orange is the 8th largest diocese in the United States.
John served as Director of Liturgical Music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from September 2010 until September 2015. This position included being the Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul. In Philadelphia, he conducted three choirs: the Cathedral Basilica Choir, he reestablished the Archdiocesan Choir of Philadelphia, and founded the Archdiocesan Girls’ Choir. He created Concerts at the Cathedral Basilica and served as its Artistic and Executive Director.
From 1992 – 2010, he was the Director of Music and Organist of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Additionally, he served as Director of the Office of Sacred Music for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, and as the Artistic and Executive Director for Saint Louis Cathedral Concerts, which he established. For fourteen of those years, Dr. Romeri served as the organist for the Saint Louis Symphony.
Prior to going to St Louis, he held similar positions at both the Church of the Assumption, and at the Diocese of Pittsburgh, both in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served as an adjunct professor at both Duquesne and Carlow Universities.
Dr. Romeri earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance, Magna cum Laude, from the Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. He also holds the Choirmaster and Associate Certificates from the American Guild of Organists. In 1998, he was presented an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lindenwood University in Saint Louis.
He has served as chair of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians’ National Board of Directors and was named “Pastoral Musician of the Year” by that organization in 2003. The Missouri Choral Directors Association voted him the “Outstanding Choir Director for 1998- 1999,” the same year he was the coordinator and conductor for the Papal visit to St. Louis. He is a past Dean of the Saint Louis and Philadelphia Chapters of the American Guild of Organists. In 2010, Dr. Romeri and his wife Karen were honored by the Saint Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists with their highest distinction, the Avis Blewett Award, for their significant contributions to the musical life of the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis Region. That same year they were presented with the “Great Music Award” by St. Louis Cathedral Concerts. John serves on the Liturgy Committee of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In May 2015, at Commencement Weekend, John received the Westminster Choir College Alumni Merit Award for “distinguished contributions to the Field of Sacred Music.” In 2019, John will be the recipient of the Paul Creston Award, presented each year in New York City by St. Malachy Parish, The Actor’s Chapel.
Choirs under his direction have performed throughout the United States, Canada and on many European tours. He frequently conducts the annual Epiphany Children’s Choir Festival in Rome Italy. Participating are hundreds of young singers performing with the famed Sistine Choir for a Papal Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany.
John is the editor of the Cathedral Choral Series and the Cathedral Organ Series from Morning Star Music Publishers. Christ Cathedral will now be featured on the cover of the series. He has released a dozen CD’s with his choirs and as an organist.
John is a Commander with the Order of St. John and a Knight Commander with Star in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. John and Karen Romeri have two children and four grandchildren.
David La'O Ball, Assistant Director of Music Ministries and Organist
Juilliard-trained organist David La’O Ball (BM ’14, MM ’16) serves as Organist and Assistant Director of Music at Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange, California (formerly Crystal Cathedral). David is a recognized and well-lauded young performer—The New York Times declared his appearance in Juilliard’s FOCUS! Festival “a rousing performance”; his performance of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in a minor in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall was broadcast on American Public Media’s nationally-syndicated radio program Pipedreams; and his segment of the 2014 WQXR Bach Marathon was streamed on WQXR-FM, New York City’s classical radio station. In addition, David has performed solo and collaborative recitals across the country, including duet recitals with Dr. John A. Romeri on the largest musical instrument ever built: the Boardwalk Hall Organ in Atlantic City. In recognition of his accomplishments, David was named one of The Diapason’s 2017 Class of 20 under 30, a peer-selected group of young people at the forefront of the organ field.
David began his organ studies under Dr. John A. Romeri at the landmark Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. He then completed both the Bachelor and Master of Music at The Juilliard School in New York City, studying under Mr. Paul Jacobs. As part of a wide-ranging musical vision for 21st-century collaboration—a vision cultivated during his time at Juilliard—David is committed to making the “King of Instruments” play well with others. He has spearheaded a number of “David and Friends” chamber recitals, commissioned many new works, and co-founded the ensemble duo corgano, a horn and organ duet featuring fellow Juilliard alumnus Trevor Nuckols. Additionally, as an orchestral musician, David has played organ with the Juilliard Orchestra in Ives’ Three Places in New England under the baton of Jeffrey Milarsky, and Bartok’s The Miraculous Mandarin under Robert Spano. In 2015, he played harmonium for the Juilliard Vocal Arts production of Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson.
David is an active member of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). As a winner of the AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists, David performed as a Rising Star at the 2016 National AGO Convention in Houston where he "used the organ evocatively... displayed a wide palette of colors in his artistic registration and... brought Mozart's K. 608 to a thrilling close, earning an enthusiastic response from the audience." (The American Organist) David has additionally won AGO Competitions in Wichita, Denver, Kansas City, and St. Louis, and was the recipient of the rarely-conferred Outstanding Student Award from the St. Louis Chapter of the AGO.
The only thing that matches David’s passion for solo and ensemble performance is his commitment to creating liturgical music of the highest caliber. From his earliest days as the organ scholar at the landmark St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, David played and accompanied the Cathedral Basilica’s choirs in performances across the country and in Rome, Italy. During his studies at Juilliard, he worked as the Assistant Director and Interim Director of Music at St. Malachy’s – The Actors’ Chapel in Times Square. As Christ Cathedral Organist, David’s musical contributions underpin the Cathedral's vast array of weekly services and events, accompanying the Diocesan, Cathedral, and Children's Choirs and supporting the parish's diverse congregation. For more information visit davidballorgan.com
- Biography courtesy of Paula Harper.
Dr. Ricardo Soto, Director of Hispanic Music
Ricardo Soto, D.M.A., received his doctorate in Choral Conducting from the University of Southern California in 1993, graduating magnum cum laude and receiving the Department Award for Excellence. Master's and bachelor's degrees were received from California State University, Fullerton. Ric has been at OCC since 2001 where he teaches theory and music history and conducts the Chorale. From 2006 to 2015 he served as conductor for the OCC Orchestra. In 2014 Ric was voted Orange Coast College's Faculty of the Year. Previously he has served on the faculties at Cal State Fullerton where he conducted the Men's Chorus and Opera Orchestra and at University of Irvine where he conducted the Men's and Women's Chorus.
Ric began his professional church work in 1980 when he was the music director at St. Joseph's Church in Long Beach. In the past he has served as music director at St. Polycarp and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church here in the Diocese of Orange. In what he describes as his dream job, Ric now directs the music ministry for the Hispanic Community here at the Cathedral.
Lauren McCaul, Cathedral Music Administrator
Lauren McCaul is delighted to serve as Cathedral Music Administrator for Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange, California. Ms. McCaul is a native of Southern California and has been involved in music ministry throughout the Diocese for over 20 years. She was the Administrative Assistant for the Director of Music Ministries at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange, Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano and was the Assistant to the Director of Choral Music at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. Ms. McCaul has served on the Music Advisory Board for the Diocese of Orange since 2005 and was a founding member of the Board of Directors for de Angelis Vocal Ensemble.
In addition to her work as Administrator, Ms. McCaul has sung for many years at various parishes in the Diocese of Orange. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Chapman University in 1999 where she performed with the University Choir, University Singers and Chapman Vocal Jazz Ensemble. She has sung as soloist and ensemble member in various choral ensembles throughout Southern California including Zephyr: Voices Unbound, Legacy and de Angelis Vocal Ensemble. Ms McCaul has performed in many of the beautiful churches and music halls in Europe and has toured with a number of ensembles as soprano soloist. Ms. McCaul has been featured as a soloist for various choral works including Mozart’s Sparrow Mass, Schubert’s Mass in G, Finzi’s In Terra Pax, Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Heiligmesse and Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. She currently sings at Christ Cathedral and for many of the liturgies and events for the Diocese of Orange.
Quang Nguyen, Cathedral Youth Music
and Christ Cathedral Academy Music Teacher
Quang is currently working on his Doctorate in Education in Leadership at the University of Southern California (USC). He received his B.A. from the University of California, Irvine. While at UCI, he served as the concertmaster for the UCI Symphony Orchestra and associate concertmaster under the direction of Dr. Stephen Tucker. In 2005, he joined the UCI Claire Trevor Music Theatre, where he was appointed as concertmaster for the UCI Department of Fine Arts.
Prior to joining the UCI Music Department, Quang received recognition in the following areas: 1997 and 1998 National Piano Guild Award (District Level) 2000 and 2001 National Piano Guild Award (State Level), 2002 California State Senate Award for Musical Excellence, 2003 California Legislature Award for Orange County Symphony, Active Member for American College of Musicians (2011-Present) Active Member with the National Piano Guild (NGPT).
Before joining Christ Cathedral Music Ministry, Quang was the Youth Music Director at St. Callistus Catholic Church from 2008-2013. In addition, he also was a per diem pianist and violinist at La Purisma Catholic Church (City of Orange) from 2004-2006, Holy Spirit Catholic Church (City of Fountain Valley) from 2008-2010, and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church (City of Santa Ana) from 2001-2005. At the Christ Cathedral Academy, Quang teaches Preschool to 8th grade music, where he focuses on developing vocal, musical, and choral skills in preparation for both liturgical and secular music repertoires. The curriculum focuses on introducing acute listening skills, creating an awareness of music phrasing, and experience the joy of singing. Quang coordinates both the Christ Cathedral Academy Children’s Choir and Advanced Choir. Quang also directs the CCA String Ensemble. The program includes violin, viola, and cello.
On the Christ Cathedral Campus, Quang works with Office of Faith Formation for special retreats and masses. He is currently the music coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Music at the Christ Cathedral Campus. Outside of Christ Cathedral Campus, Quang is the Liturgical Music Coordinator at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and Instrumental Music Director at Holy Trinity Church (Vanguard University).
In education, Quang is currently working with Principal Debbie Vallas in the Office of Advancement at Christ Cathedral Academy (CCA). The office focuses on areas of opportunity for school growth by marketing, communication, and community relations. Projects include: developing the first CCA App and also developing an interactive CCA website. Most importantly, the office focuses on perpetuating the growth of the school with a Catholic identity.