Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Angela Westhoff-Johnson directs the Cathedral choir.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Angela Westhoff-Johnson directs the Cathedral choir.
Twenty years ago, Angela Westhoff-Johnson was hired at St. Mary Cathedral to lead the small choir. At the time, the singers perched in the balcony, behind a screen, above the west transept of the cathedral.

The new music director’s assignment was to build a choir worthy of a cathedral and an archdiocese that is the second oldest in the United States.

“She has done that, and even more, over these 20 years,” said Msgr. Patrick Brennan, pastor of St. Mary’s. “Only a person of her determination, good will and patience could have lasted in her position for so many years – and still have the support of her pastors, choir, family and loyal friends.”

In addition to her work at the cathedral, Westhoff-Johnson works full time as manager of music editorial at Oregon Catholic Press, the Portland nonprofit that publishes the Catholic Sentinel.

To honor Westhoff-Johnson’s contributions, friends, family and fellow musicians gathered for an anniversary Mass at the cathedral. Westhoff-Johnson received an icon written by Mary Katsilometes, a local iconographer, a gift from the Cathedral community, the Archdiocese of Portland and other benefactors.

Archbishop Alexander Sample commented that he noted the quality of music at the cathedral and talent of the choir since he first witnessed Westhoff-Johnson’s efforts at his installation Mass in April.

During her two decades at the cathedral, Westhoff-Johnson has collaborated with three pastors and four archbishops.