Holiday Concert Brings Light to Solstice Season in Historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Dec 6, 2018

St. Paul's Cathedral downtown hosts the 11th Solstice at the Cathedral, Thurs, Fri & Sat
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

Music will once again fill St. Paul’s Cathedral in Downtown Syracuse.  The 11th “Solstice at the Cathedral” opens Thursday.  It traces its beginnings back to a different celebration of the season.

You might remember hearing the Paul Winter Consort solstice concert on WAER.  Well Pete Constantino heard it … and had to create something similar here.

“I was inspired by that and probably borrowed heavily from it, in terms of housing it in a church.  We’re very fortunate to be here in St. Paul’s.  It evolved over time in terms of different ideas, keeping it secular.  It’s very difficult for me to tell people what to expect.  I do tell people it’s secular, that we do not house ‘’, there’s enough of that.  We’re not terribly sacred but we do connect to the holidays.”

Ashley Cox (L) and Peter Vacanti are back to perform in the Solstice concert for 2018.
Credit Diana Whiting

Constantino takes advantage of wonderful local musicians …and the impressive architecture of St Paul’s Cathedral.  Musical Director and Bass Player Matthey Vacanti calls the show eclectic and unexpected.

“Kind of a musical journey from dark to light.  It’s kind of a positive spin on the darkest time of the year.  And the show is supposed to evolve visually and acoustically as you watch it.  We have some Irish music, and some rock-and-roll, and some classical music, and some Jazz.”

He says the musicians have a lot of fun playing with those form other styles and generations.

Singer Ashley Cox agrees … She’ll be part of Solstace for the second year in a row.

“As a musician it’s very exciting to perform in venue like this, (normally) it’s bars and clubs and whatnot.  So it’s a beautiful space to perform.  And the way they have put it all together, you really don’t know what it’s like until the lights go down, the visuals, the colors the sounds, it’s beautiful.”

She adds the songs are neither too spiritual or too Christmassy, but the vibe of the concert feels that way. 


  •  Joe Whiting, Artistic Director,
  • Matt Vacanti, Musical Director.
  • Arise & Go,
  • Pearson Constantino,
  • Ashley Cox,
  • Joe Davoli,
  • Dave DeSiro,
  • Five to Life,
  • Marcia Hagen,
  • Avery Head,
  • Casey Murray,
  • Andrew Van Norstrand,
  • Daniel Pugh,
  • Mike Roddy,  
  • Second Line Syracuse with Director Melissa Gardiner,
  • Jeff Stockham.

Joe Whiting serves once again as Artistic Director for the concert.
Credit Diana Whiting

Founder and Producer Pete Constantino changes it up a bit each year, with new people and new music.  Performances are this Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm … and Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm.  Information at, available on Facebook or by calling 315-256-7368