Joan Barton DeCaro - Music Director & Organist
Music Director of Our Lady of Good Counsel for the past 16 years, majored in voice and organ at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. and graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Music History. She is a member of the American Guild of Organists. Ms. Barton DeCaro has been guest organist in many churches and synagogues in the metropolitan area. Before coming to Our Lady of Good Counsel she was Music Director of Guardian Angel Roman Catholic Church.
As mezzo-soprano soloist, Joan has toured in the Far East with the National Philharmonic of the Philippines, and also inaugurated the recital hall in Hong Kong’s Performing Arts Centre. She has appeared as soloist with the Little Orchestra Society in Avery Fisher Hall, New Jersey Opera Classics, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Musica Bella Orchestra, and the Westchester Chamber Music Festival. She has performed in recital with clarinetist Stanley Drucker and violist Emanuel Vardi.
Joan can be heard on the soundtrack of the Samuel Goldwin film “Love Is All There Is” with Paul Sorvino, who is among her voice students. She was featured soloist for the telecast of the Ellis Island Awards Ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and can be heard on her own CD “How Can I Keep From Singing.” Ms. Barton DeCaro co-authored the book “The Way to Sing – Secrets of Bel Canto” with Jeanne Donato.
CHRISTOPHER CANDELA, O.P. - Director of Music
Organist, composer, conductor, and tenor Christopher Candela is a native of Derry, NH. Since 1992, Christopher's devotion to the Sacred Liturgy and study of Eastern and Western Catholic rites has been at the core of his life in music. In 1995, Christopher was awarded the Justine Bayard Ward Scholarship for studies in organ performance at the Catholic University of America. His teachers included Robert Grogan and Edward Moore (organ), Leo Nestor (conducting), Elizabeth Daniels (voice) and Theodore Marier (Solesmes method for Gregorian chant).
In Washington DC, Mr. Candela held several significant posts. As Assistant Organist at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Christopher played for archdiocesan liturgies, Cathedral parish Masses and concerts. During his tenure as Assisting Organist at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Christopher featured prominently in hundreds of liturgies including televised Masses, international pilgrimages, weekday Masses, events for the Military Archdiocese, concerts, and other services of national importance. Christopher served for ten years as Music Director for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, working with the Bishops' Committee on Liturgy to prepare for Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours for the annual Plenary Assembly and other Masses throughout the year.
As Director of Music at the church of St. Stephen Martyr in DC (2003 - 2010), he established a Parish Conservatory, Music for Everyone which offered instruction in voice, piano, violin and the performance/lecture series Tour of Great Composers. Christopher also served as founder and Committee Chair for Washington's annual Gold Mass for Professionals in Music and the Performing Arts, which brought together musicians, faculty, and administration from area music schools, the Washington National Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra to pray for a year of fruitful labor at the opening of the performing season.
Christopher's passion for the study and practice of organ improvisation features prominently in his concert programs. Christopher has studied various styles of historic improvisation and has been a featured performer/student in the master classes of noted improvisers Philippe Lefebvre (Notre Dame, Paris) and Martin Baker (Westminster Cathedral, London.) The Washington Post called his 2014 recital at the National Shrine "A marvelous earful…demonstrating his imaginative command of each organ’s color choices” saying further that “Candela’s technique is as brilliant as the gilded mosaics of the church’s ceiling and walls.”
Mr. Candela is an active composer and has composed for choirs, orchestras and solo voice/instruments, including Maranatha! for organ (2001), for the nationally televised installation Mass of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. Christopher has performed on harpsichord (continuo and soloist) with the Virginia Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Emil de Cou (National Symphony Orchestra). Christopher has also been accompanist for the New York Choral Society Chamber Singers. As a tenor, Christopher has sung and recorded with such highly acclaimed ensembles as the American Repertory Singers (ARSIS label). He was the featured tenor soloist for the national NPM Convention concert performance of Richard Proulx’s Preghiera di San Francesco in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Now as Director of Music at the Church of St. Thomas More in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Christopher oversees the professional choir and will perform at well over 300 liturgies throughout the year. He is a member of the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians, the American Choral Directors’ Association and the American Guild of Organists. Christopher is a professed lay member of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) and is currently pursuing a degree in philosophy.
E-mail Mr. Candela, Director of Music, here.