August 24, 2022
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The Most Rev. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, has appointed Mr. Ralph Holtzhauser as Diocesan Director of Music and Cathedral Musician, effective September 6, 2022. As Cathedral Musician, Mr. Holtzhauser will serve as the principal musician, organist, and choir director for cathedral and diocesan liturgies. Additionally, in an expansion of the position, Mr. Holtzhauser will serve as Diocesan Director of Music, providing guidance and support for liturgical music throughout the diocese. This includes formation and training programs for parish musicians, assistance to pastors in recruitment and hiring of musicians, and acting as a resource for pastors and parish musicians on issues related to liturgical music and the development of parish music programs. The Diocesan Director of Music serves within the Office of Worship and as an ex officio member of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and as a member of the music subcommittee.
Mr. Holtzhauser comments, “”I am beyond excited to be joining the Diocese of Youngstown and the Cathedral of St. Columba. I hope to continue and expand upon a deep tradition of music that will draw people into the church and help form a personal connection to their own spiritual life.”
Ralph Holtzhauser grew up in Rocky River, Ohio, and has been a liturgical musician from a young age. Having started playing the piano at the age of two, Holtzhauser was accompanying the entire Mass on organ beginning in the second grade and had served three parishes by the end of high school. Mr. Holzhauser is a 2016 graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, with majors in organ performance and composition, and is currently completing his master’s degree in organ performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Holtzhauser has served as a liturgical musician for 21 years at parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland, most recently as Director of Music at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Chagrin Falls. His parish music ministry has included service as a music teacher in Catholic schools, with success in growing choir participation and in facilitating his choir’s participation in outside events, award competitions, and The Christmas Carol at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. Since 2020, Mr. Holtzhauser has served on the Board of the Cleveland Chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, as Parochial School Liaison.
In addition to liturgical music, Holtzhauser is a regular performer and studio musician. He has performed at the Cleveland Art Museum, the Blackstone Organ Residence, and Fairmount Presbyterian Church, the historic St. Ignatius of Antioch Church in Cleveland and on the newly restored organ at the Rocky River Unitarian Church. His musical style beyond liturgy includes jazz and rock, and he has played with three-time Grammy winner Graham Breedlove (at the Kennedy Center), recorded with a progressive rock group at the LA Congregational Church (home to the largest church organ in the United States), among regular events in the Cleveland area and beyond.
Mr. Holtzhauser succeeds Dr. Daniel Laginya, who is retiring as Cathedral Musician on September 4, 2022 after 40 years of service. During his tenure, Dr. Laginya developed a widely respected music program for cathedral and diocesan liturgies. He has presented numerous workshops and seminars for the Diocese over the years. Among his leadership as an educator is the establishment of the Cecelia Project, which recruits, engages and develops new pastoral musicians in the Diocese of Youngstown, and his work as a core faculty member of the diocese’s Lay Leader of Prayer Formation Program.
Bishop Bonnar comments, “I am grateful to Dr. Dan Laginya and excited to welcome Mr. Holtzhauser. Our diocese has been truly blessed through Dan’s gifts and talents in providing the highest quality of music at the cathedral and our diocesan celebrations. Over these many years, his dedicated and devoted service has been a gift and a blessing to our local church, and I thank him for his life of service and prayer.”
Bishop Bonnar also comments, “I welcome Mr. Holtzhauser to our diocese and I look forward to working with him in continuing the rich and strong liturgical music tradition we have been accustomed to over these many years. With his experience and passion, he will be a wonderful resource to our diocese, our cathedral, and our parishes in developing vibrant liturgical music.”