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CURRENT ISSUE:  July 5, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
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Christine Wong and Keith Cosbey met as members of the choir assembled for the dedication of the Cathedral of Christ the Light. They plan to wed July 23.
VANESSA KEARNS PHOTO

Some people may wonder if the Cathedral of Christ the Light is worth its cost.

“Now I think it’s worth every penny,” says Keith Cosbey, who on July 23 will marry Christine Wong.

The two met as members of the choir assembled for the dedication of the Cathedral of Christ the Light on Sept. 25, 2008. He’s a tenor and she’s a soprano. Cosbey, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame, says he and Wong might not have met otherwise.

Talk about the cathedral bringing people together.

Cosbey, one of the founders of the University of Notre Dame’s Undertones a cappella group, runs Choicelunch, a San Ramon company that provides health-conscious school lunches, with fellow Undertones Justin Gagnon and Ryan Mariotti.

Wong graduated in 2009 from Saint Mary’s College with a major in music, with a focus on vocal performance, and a minor in psychology. After graduation, she entered the teacher credential program. Last year she served as a kindergarten aide at St. Theresa School in Oakland.

Wong, a cantor and choir member at St. Monica Parish in Moraga, learned of the choir through her then-pastor. “Father Paul Minnihan told me to audition,” Wong recalled. “I didn’t know about it before.”

Cosbey and his friends, who had been working long hours building up their business, decided to give the choir a try.

“I noticed him the first time he came to rehearsal,” Wong said. “I thought he was cute, but we didn’t talk.” (She noted it was the second rehearsal of the choir.)

She was accustomed to being among the younger people in a choir. That’s why Cosbey caught her eye.

On the day of the Cathedral dedication, Wong, who had been driven to the cathedral by her father, needed a ride to BART. She asked Cosbey and Gagnon, who had ridden together to the cathedral, for a ride home.

“Justin just walked away,” she recalled, leaving Cosbey to give her a ride. “We still don’t know how he got home.”

Cosbey said after learning that she was heading to Contra Costa County, where he also lived, he offered to take her to the Orinda BART station. Then he offered to drive her to her home. And once they got there, he suggested they should get something to eat.

After letting her parents know she was going out, they went to Chow in Lafayette, where “I introduced him to my favorite dessert,” Wong said.

It’s a rhubarb cobbler.

They became engaged a year ago.

Their Nuptial Mass will be concelebrated by Father Minnihan, Father Ray Zielezienski from St. Joan of Arc, where Cosbey worships, and a priest from Buffalo, N.Y., where Cosbey went to elementary school.

Four choirs — the Saint Mary’s College choir, students from a high school musical group Cosbey directs at St. Joan of Arc, the St. Monica choir, and alumni of the Notre Dame Glee Club and Undertones — will sing during the Mass.

The bride and bridegroom will not be singing.

“I sang at so many weddings,” she said. “It’s my turn.”

Wong started singing at Saint Mary’s long before she was a student there, joining the choir of Brother Martin Yribarren

“I fell in love with the school,” she said, adding that she transferred there from Diablo Valley College.

The seasoned wedding singer knows what she likes. “I heard the Notre Dame guys sing ‘Ave Maria’ at the Undertones reunion and I loved it,” she said. “It’s an arrangement by Franz Biebl. I had to have that. I don’t hear it that often.”

Brad Brennan, choir director at St. Monica, has an arrangement of “I Have Loved You.”

“I sang it at a choir member’s daughter’s wedding,” Wong said. “I loved the song.”

Being no stranger at Saint Mary’s Chapel has its benefits. When she called to check the wedding calendar, she was asked, “For whose wedding?”

“Actually, my own,” she replied, as she and Cosbey set the date.

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