This web site is a memorial to those individuals who were passionate about the reform of the
Roman Catholic liturgy as set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
and who now, in eternal life, worship the God whom they served in this life.

John Balka

John Balka
1948 – 1999

John Balka, the organist and director of sacred music at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington since 1997, died of liver cancer Dec. 16, 1999, at his home in Washington.

Mr. Balka was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in musical arts in the early 1970s from the University of Oklahoma.

He worked as an organist, choirmaster and music director at churches in Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan and California--notably, St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco--and Texas before coming to Washington. From 1982 to 1985, he was an organ instructor at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

In the late 1980s, Mr. Balka recorded "John Balka Plays the Great Organ of St. Mary's Cathedral," "Historic Organs of San Francisco" and "A Tribute to Olivier Messiaen."

He made two recordings last year, "The Angel With the Trumpet," in which he plays organ at the Morton H. Meyersson Symphony Center in Dallas, and "Queen of Angels," in which he directs the St. Mary's Cathedral choir in Austin.

He helped found the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians and was a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and American Guild of Organists.

Tribute printed in the Washington Post.