Click on the title to learn more about the Cathedral's Music Staff.
Canon Precentor - Director of Cathedral Music - Diocesan Music Missioner
Joseph Ripka is an internationally respected and acclaimed organist, recognized for his virtuosity and expressiveness. He was the rst-prize winner of the Dublin International Organ Competition, the Fort Wayne National Organ Playing Competition, and the San Marino/ Elizabeth Elftman National Organ Competition.
Joseph is in demand as a concert organist and has performed recitals throughout the United States. He received high praise in a review from the Boston Musical Intelligencer for his performance at Holy Cross College in Worcester Massachusetts on the renowned Taylor and Boody Opus 9 instrument. Joseph has performed with the New World Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Benjamin Zander, and Alan Gilbert. Mr. Ripka’s recitals have been aired on American Public Media's Pipedreams several times; he was invited by Michael Barone to be the featured artist for the 25th anniversary celebration of Pipedreams in 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the summer of 2009, Joseph made his European concert debut with recitals at St. Sulpice in Paris, Bavo Kerk in Haarlem, Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, and Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden, Netherlands. Joseph has since played recitals at Westminster Cathedral in London, St. Michael’s Church in Dun Laoghaire, St Paul's Cathedral in London, St Columb's Cathedral in Derry, Noorderkerk in Amsterdam, and many more. Joseph’s acclaimed YouTube videos have received hundreds of thousands of views and have earned rave comments from around the world.
Joseph holds bachelor’s degrees in both organ and piano performance from St. Cloud State University, masters degrees in organ and piano performance from the University of Kansas, the Artist Diploma in organ performance from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in organ performance from Yale University. His principal teachers were James David Christie, Webb Wiggins (harpsichord), Derek Rêmes (thoroughbass), Martin Jean, James Higdon, Charles Echols, Jack Winerock and Carmen Wilhite, and Yakov Gelfand. He has coached with Olivier Latry, Marie Claire Alain, Wilma Jensen, Jean-Baptiste Robin, John Scott, and Phillipe Lefebvre as well.
Mr. Ripka is the Canon Musician at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City, OK. At St. Paul’s, Joseph is director of a comprehensive choral and music program, including two adult choirs and the Cathedral Chorister program, which he inaugurated in the fall of 2021. He also serves as Diocesan Music Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma.
An internationally recognized organist, Mr. Ripka is also a performing pianist and harpsichordist, He has performed professionally as a pianist in numerous duo recitals and chamber-music concerts and as a continuo harpsichordist in concerts and recitals with Baroque ensembles and soloists. Joseph has conducted numerous complete performances of Handel’s Messiah and cantatas of Bach, Buxtehude and Schutz. His repertoire as a keyboardist, conductor and teacher extends from the late Renaissance and early Baroque to the 21st century. Joseph serves as instructor of harpsichord and director of the Early Music Ensemble at Oklahoma City University.
Cathedral Organ Scholar
Christopher John Pharo began formal organ study under Ms. Carolyn Crossland in his hometown, Kinston, NC; and later under Mr. Andrew Scanlon and Dr. David Arcus at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. Mr. Pharo has served as Organ Scholar for the Royal School of Church Music Carolina Course (2011) based in Raleigh, NC, and continues to work as a proctor (2012 – present) for the RSCM Charlotte Course. Mr. Pharo has been featured on numerous concert programs in North Carolina and in 2021 was invited to be the inaugural Featured Organ Scholar for the Nantucket Community Music Center’s Annual Organ Crawl in Nantucket, MA. Mr. Pharo was named the 2022-2023 Gerre Hancock Fellow for Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, CA. As an organist and teaching assistant on staff at Grace Cathedral, Mr. Pharo worked with the choir of Men and Boys, taught voice and theory, and accompanied rehearsals and services on the cathedral’s 7,466 Aeolian-Skinner organ. Mr. Pharo has recently relocated to Norman, OK where he will attend Oklahoma University in pursuit of his Master’s in Music and serve as the Organ Scholar for St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City.
Staff Singer and Assistant Organist
Richard A. Jobe has served as a professional staff singer at St. Paul’s Cathedral since 2016. He was previously the Music Director & Organist of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City for 26 years and worked as a musician and conductor at Temple B’nai Israel (Oklahoma City) for 8 years. Richard is also Organist and Associate Choir Director for the middle and upper school divisions at Casady School (Episcopal) in Oklahoma City. Prior to joining the Casady School community, he was a Staff Coach/Accompanist for the School of Music at the University of Central Oklahoma for 17 years. Mr. Jobe is active as a singer, pianist/organist, and conductor in the OKC metro area, working in vocal/choral/instrumental music, opera, and musical theatre.
Volunteer Vocal Coach and Director of Cherub Choir
Laura Bosse is a classically trained vocalist who grew up in Oklahoma. She attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK earning two Bachelors of Music, one in Vocal Performance and one in Church Music which was based on the liturgy and music of the Episcopal Church. She also attended New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA where she earned a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance emphasizing in Opera. She has performed as a church soloist in numerous churches since 2003. She has also directed a number adult and children's choirs in both Episcopal and Free Methodist churches since 2004 and has been teaching privately since 2010.
Paul Laurence Fletcher
Vocal Coach and Staff Singer
Baritone Paul Laurence Fletcher and his wife Jessica moved to Oklahoma this past year from Connecticut, where Mr Fletcher regularly appeared in repertoire ranging from oratorio and opera to recital and chamber music with many leading performing organizations in southern New England and New York.A featured guest soloist with such ensembles as Orchestra New England, the American Classical Orchestra, and the Hartford, New Haven and Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestras, Mr. Fletcher was chosen by National Medal of Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen to record the CD premiere of the composer’s dramatic solo setting of A.E. Houseman’sBe Still My Soul Be Still, as well as the solo version of Lauridsen’s popular O Magnum Mysterium on Voce’s critically praised collaboration with the composer, Sure On This Shining Night. American Record Guide judged these solo performances to be “superb,“ finding the recording as a whole to be “absolutely stunning.”
A member of Actor’s Equity Association, Mr. Fletcher has performed leading and supporting roles in productions at Lamb’s Theatre (Times Square), Theatre 315 (New York City), Hartford Stage, Downtown Cabaret Theatre, Theatre on the Green, Ivoryton Playhouse, Shubert Opera, Opera Theatre of Connecticut and others. His professional credits include the roles of Tony (West Side Story), Macheath (Threepenny Opera), Lancelot (Camelot), Emile (South Pacific) and Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha).
Mr. Fletcher’s extensive experience as a professional ensemble singer includes multiple European tours and Anglican cathedral residences in England and Scotland, and he was one of six baritones/basses from across the United States selected from auditions in late 2011 to form the bass section of a new professional ensemble, the Yale Choral Artists, conducted by Jeffrey Douma, whose inaugural program of music by Handel was presented to critical acclaim in Carnegie Hall’s 2012 Zankel Hall series.
An honor’s graduate of Abilene Christian University, Mr. Fletcher won a full scholarship/graduate assistantship to the Hartt School at the University of Hartford (MM in Voice with distinction), where he took first prizes for operatic performance as well as in the La Voix Poetique art song competition, and was featured in master classes with Bidu Sayao and Marlena Malas. He is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and teaches privately in Oklahoma City and online.
Director of the St. Cecilia Singers
Classically trained, Mary studied voice with Joyce Shealy and Carol Brice at the University of Oklahoma, both noted concert artists and instructors. She is largely self-taught on guitar and bass. She served as a staff singer in Cathedral choirs for 26 years. Additionally, she provided music programming for children and youth from 2003 to 2010. From mid 2020 through 2021, she oversaw sound and live streaming for Saint Paul’s.
Mary served as director of Folk Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Oklahoma City. She was confirmed in the Episcopal Church at Saint Paul’s in 1991. She is married to pianist, composer and teacher Louise Goldberg, and together they lead the jazz band Miss Brown to You. Mary is well known in Oklahoma City as a performer and arranger, and has performed everywhere from the Homeless Alliance to the Governor’s Mansion.
Leah McDonald teaches elementary music at Heritage School in Edmond, and serves as the Elementary Music Facilitator for Edmond Public Schools. She also conducts Edmond Youth Chorus, is currently Immediate Past President of Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OkMEA.) Leah had an active role in the recent revision of the Oklahoma State Music Standards for the State Department of Education.
Leah grew up in the Church of Christ, where she learned to sing in four-part harmony. While studying music education at OSU, she served as Children’s Choir Director at FUMC in Stillwater. During study for her Master’s Degree, she was named choir director at Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater. She served in that capacity for seven years. Leah and her husband Kevin were part of the synod team who introduced the new ELCA hymnal (ELW) in 2006.
Leah currently sings in the Cathedral Schola Cantorum, and has also spent time in the Cathedral Choir since her family’s arrival at St. Paul’s in 2011. In addition to singing, Leah regularly shares the Children’s Message at both services, Kevin is active in both the greeters’ and ushers’ guilds, while daughter Ella works in the St. Paul’s nursery each Sunday. Daughter Emily is Junior Acolyte Master for the 11:15 Cathedral service. Leah is truly grateful for St. Paul’s’ role in her musical vocation and her family’s continuing faith formation.