Blake Applegate, 40, was destined to become a guardian of sacred music.
In 1983, his father Dean began the Portland liturgical choir Cantores in Ecclesia. Young Blake would sit outside the rehearsal room and listen to Renaissance polyphony and Gregorian chant issuing forth, thrilling him.
After years of singing and then assisting his father as conductor, the younger Applegate is now director of Cantores. The choir, which has won medals in Europe, sings for 7:30 p.m. Mass every Saturday at St. Stephen Church in Portland.
Years in, the task has not lost its appeal.
“I have the music in my blood,” Applegate says.
After 25 years, the father stepped down and it seemed natural for the son to step up.
“It’s kind of a humbling role to assume,” says Applegate. “My father formed my musical identity. I just knew that keeping the tradition going was important.”