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St. John’s Cathedral to celebrate 175-year anniversary with historian Jack Neely and poet R.B. Morris

October 22, 2019

Free event features history, music, refreshments and tours of newly renovated cathedral

St. John’s Cathedral will mark its 175-year anniversary and launch the 2019-2020 Concerts on Cumberland series in October with a celebration featuring Knoxville historian and author Jack Neely and local poet and musician R.B. Morris.

The cathedral, located at 413 Cumberland Ave., in downtown Knoxville, will open its doors for the free event at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25. Attendees are welcome to drop in throughout the two-hour event.

The program starts at 7 p.m. with remarks in the open-air courtyard from Neely, the executive director of the Knoxville History Project. Throughout the evening, attendees will enjoy locally inspired music written and performed live by R.B. Morris, who was named as Knoxville’s first Poet Laureate in 2016. Tours of the interior of the recently renovated cathedral also will be available.

Highlights of the event will include the cathedral’s connection to famed Knoxville author James Agee and unexpected intersections with artists such as Gustavus Knabe, a composer who has been referred to as “the father of music in East Tennessee.”

“We want to celebrate our history and 175th anniversary by sharing this special event with a community that has embraced us,” said John C. Ross, dean of St. John’s Cathedral. “Partnering with Jack Neely and R.B. Morris also is the perfect opening night for Concerts on Cumberland, which seeks to connect our cathedral with the community in a warm and welcoming way. Everyone is invited to come, listen and enjoy a beautiful fall evening.”

Dinner and drinks will be available for purchase from Good Golly Tamale and Albright Grove Brewing Co., along with a downtown Knoxville-inspired cocktail from PostModern Spirits.

The annual Chords for the Community season runs through July 2020 at the downtown Knoxville cathedral. This year’s major concerts will include popular gospel group and Emmy-nominated Inversion Vocal Ensemble and participation in the Big Ears Festival, interspersed with regular performances from the St. John’s Cathedral Arts choir and featured artists.

To learn more about St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral and Chords for the Community, visit Parking for all concerts is available adjacent to the cathedral.

About St. John’s Cathedral

St. John’s Cathedral shares and spreads love as exemplified by Jesus Christ. We’re a people first community, building relationships of trust and authenticity. Wherever you are on your faith journey, we invite you to join us on our path of growth and discovery. We connect through joyful gatherings of worship, teaching, arts, music, and service to others. You are warmly welcomed and wanted in this vibrant, multi-generational, downtown congregation. Learn more at, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Chords for the Community

Chords for the Community is a world-class musical program presented by St. John’s Cathedral Arts. The program consists of three series: Evensong for Everyone, reflective and soothing choral performances; Concerts on Cumberland, a series of renowned artist performances including a collaboration with Big Ears Festival; and Choral Camaraderie & Worship, traditional worship services featuring inspirational music led by the St. John’s choir. St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral through its Chords for the Community program aims to spread love and share the transformative joy of worship to all through music. The doors are open. Come, listen and enjoy. Learn more at, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.