Solstice at the Cathedral Concert Mixes Music with Community in Historic Setting

Dec 5, 2019

A performance from previous solstice concert.
Credit / St.Paul Church

An event that mixes music with community, inside one of Syracuse’s architectural gems returned to the Salt City Thursday night for a weekend run. 

Solstice at the Cathedral brings together a wide variety of Central New York musicians … some well-known to local audiences and some that concert-goers will discover. 


  • Joe Whiting, Artistic Director 
  • Matt Vacanti, Musical Director
  • Tony Greene
  • The VanNorstrand Brothers
  • Marcia Hagan
  • Five to Life
  • Dan Pugh
  • Michael Roddy
  • Dave DeSiro 
  • Ashley Cox 
  • J. Avery Head

Credit / /

Artistic Director Joe Whiting notes the performance is inside Saint Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Syracuse.  But, based on audience feedback, it has broad appeal.

“It is hard to define because it’s in a church, in a scared lace, but it’s not a sacred presentation.  There is some sacred music in it but it’s an inspirational show, but it’s a non-denominational show.  It’s just a feel-good show.”

The Cathedral was built in 1885 and features Victorian Gothic Revival architecture, along with a renowned group of stained glass windows.  So audience members can enjoy the surroundings along with the music.  Whiting says the Solstice Concerts started in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, but Saint Paul’s has better sight lines and sound quality.  He adds both the musician lineup and concert program changes every year.

“From what it started at, it was much more of a collection, where all the pieces were connected.  Now a lot of the stuff is stand-alone.  So we try to stay with people’s strengths.  If they can join in with other groups, with other performers great.  I get to do something different from what I normally do.  People know me as an R & B guy, or as a Rock guy but I get to do bigger songs than I normally get to do, so I really look forward to stretching out.”

Teh 12th annual Solstice at the Cathedral opened Thursday night and continues Friday, as well as two shows on Saturday.