Choir & Music

The choir sings at the 10:30AM Mass on all, but the first Sunday of the month.


Rehearsals happen on the Sundays that they sing at 9:15AM. Added week-night rehearsals happen prior to Christmas and Easter, amenable to the schedule of the group.

 

Please join us! Contact Joseph Byrd for inquiries and interest.   

Joseph Byrd

Music Director & Pastoral Administrator

jbyrd@sipdx.org

(503) 777-1491 ext. 238

Our family choir, led by Joe MacKenzie, leads the music the first Sunday of every month at the 10:30AM Mass October through May. 

 

Adults and children welcome, as well as instrumental accompaniment. 

 

Practice is held prior to Mass at 9:30AM.

Stations of the Cross Video

by Grace & Joseph Byrd

Click picture below

BonHoeffer/Joseph

Dear friends,                                                                                                                     

I want to share with you some Morning and Evening Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written while he was imprisoned by the Nazis during WWII.  I set them to music, for liturgical use, as part of my Doctoral work, and I hope that they might provide solace for you during these days of fear and social isolation. 

 

Until we meet again, let us sing together from wherever we are.

 

-Joseph Byrd

READ MORE...

Lyrics for Bonhoeffer music

 

OR-Text giving available!

Text to: 73256 

sipdx Chu $25 

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Tithing using your text messaging. Standard text message rates do apply.

Contemplations with Music

This is Joseph Byrd, Music Director at St. Ignatius Church in Portland, Oregon, inviting you to join me for Contemplations with Music, a prayerful, reflective journey in which we’ll explore all kinds of sounds, settings, performers, and styles, as we find our way through these days with the corona virus.

You’re invited to use Contemplations in Music in the following ways:

  • 1) Listen to the selection below prior to reading about it.  Notice your responses as you do so.  What do you like/dislike about it?  Where does the music lead you, as you hold it in prayer?  What arises in you – what thought, stories, situations, memories?  How might you bring these to God, in prayer? Or,

  • 2) Read the walk-through guide below, before listening.  What are your expectations, as you sift through the description of what you are about to hear?  Listen to the selection, and then notice what your own experiences are.  If you were to journal, or draw, while listening, what might that look like?  Can you bring these words and/or images to God?  What happens when you do?

  • 3) Listen and follow the walk-through guide at the same time.  If you were to create your own walk-through guide, to accompany what you are hearing, what might it say?  How do you find yourself accompanying those around you during these days of social distancing?  With help from St. Ignatius Loyola, as he would encourage us to find God in all things, how do you find yourself being accompanied by God presently?

 

You Raise Me up/Rolf Løvland (b.1955)

                

You Raise Me Up, now recorded in over 125 cover versions, started out as a song written by composer Rolf Løvland for his mother’s funeral.  Originally conceived as an instrumental piece, with lyrics added later, You Raise Me Up was only a minor hit when it first appeared in 2001 as the second track on the album Once in a Red Moon, by the band Secret Garden. Since then, it has found a life of its own, and has become universally well known.

Listen for:

  • A violin starts us off, soulful and alone, but then instruments gradually join in.

    • Have there been times, during these past weeks, when you have felt alone, and have found yourself without words?  How does the Spirit aid you when you are unable to find the words you need, in prayer, or in life?  Has “prayer without words” been a part of your devotional life before? 

  • When the lyric begins, a man is singing, but a woman joins him at 3:21, with a choir in the background.

    • During these days of isolation and fear, I’ve heard more than once, that we’re all in this together; that the suffering that is happening during these times knows no boundaries.  How might such suffering be an invitation toward seeing a broader humanity, without labels, without the boundaries that can often get in the way of caring for our neighbors?

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;

When troubles come and my heart burdened be;

Then I am still and wait here in the silence,

Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up to more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up to more than I can be.

There is no life, no life without its hunger;

Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;

But when you come and I am filled with wonder,

Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up to more than I can be.

Contemplations with Music

I’m Joseph Byrd, Music Director at St. Ignatius Church in Portland, Oregon.  Join me for weekly journeys through Contemplations with Music where we’ll explore all kinds of sounds, settings, performers, and styles, as we find our way through these days with the corona virus.

You’re invited to use Contemplations in Music in the following ways:

  • 1) Listen to the selection below prior to reading about it.  Notice your responses as you do so.  What do you like/dislike about it?  Where does the music lead you, as you hold it in prayer?  What arises in you – what thought, stories, situations, memories?  How might you bring these to God, in prayer? Or,

  • 2) Read the walk-through guide below, before listening.  What are your expectations, as you sift through the description of what you are about to hear?  Listen to the selection, and then notice what your own experiences are.  If you were to journal, or draw, while listening, what might that look like?  Can you bring these words and/or images to God?  What happens when you do?

  • 3) Listen and follow the walk-through guide at the same time.  If you were to create your own walk-through guide, to accompany what you are hearing, what might it say?  How do you find yourself accompanying those around you during these days of social distancing?  With help from St. Ignatius Loyola, as he would encourage us to find God in all things, how do you find yourself being accompanied by God presently?

 

Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine /Olivier Messiean (1908-1992)

(Three Small Liturgies of the Divine Presence)

                II. Séquence du Verbe, Cantique Divin (Dieu présent en lui-même...) (6:39)

                   (Sequence of the Word, Divine Song (God Present In Himself...)

My faith is the grand drama of my life. I'm a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith.
I give bird songs to those who dwell in cities and have never heard them, make rhythms for those who know only military marches or jazz, and paint colors for those who see none.
” – Olivier Messiaen

 

Messiaen, a French composer, organist, and ornithologist made music that sounds like nobody else.   Combining the songs of birds, and rhythms and melodies he called “Modes of Expression,” Messiean also combined instruments in ways that no one else had before.

 

Listen for the following:

 

  • The music starts with joy, and sounds like a dance; piano and choir and lots of repeating of the phrase “Il est parti, le Bien-Aimé! C’est pour nous! (The Beloved has gone, it is for us!).  At :20, the strings join in, but not in a typical string orchestra way.  Almost scraping and scratching, they add to the music’s sense of an increasing frenzy of celebration.

  • Listen for “tone clusters” in the piano especially; whole blocks of sound that appear to come out of nowhere, almost as if the pianist is placing her entire forearm on the keys (and she may well be doing just that!)  Also, listen for glissandi, a technique where the pianist drags her hands along the keys, either up or down, very quickly, to create a sudden whirr of sound. Consider:

    • What has surprised you during these days of social isolation?  What has shocked you?  Do any of these sounds do that? (and if so, just wait!)  How do you take such new experiences to your prayer?  What is your sense of saturation with all that is “new” these days?  Is it too much?  Do you welcome it?  Why or why not?

  • At 1:33, things get even more percussive, and the instruments themselves begin to make sounds that are not “typical.”  The strings use col legno which means to play with the wood of the bow instead of using the soft, horse hair that one normally hears.  The piano starts to use its lower notes as virtual drums, and there is a low, primitive rhythm which the pianist starts to pound out. 

  • At 2:16, something very unusual occurs: a totally new sound, and one that may remind you of the sound effects of an alien space ship at flight, during a science fiction movie.  It is an instrument created by Leon Theremin, and patented in 1928, that uses antennae and is played without any physical contact, but produces a singing, electric, vibrating sound by placing one’s hands near and around the instrument.  See the following Youtube video for a demonstration: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • This may be the weirdest “music” you have ever listened to!  And, as I’ve heard many people say, these may be the weirdest times many of us have ever lived through.  What consolation might you need right now, in your prayer, to sustain such a time as this?  Are you noticing any ways that the Spirit might be moving in and/or around you right now, to provide comfort during these days? 

  • The intensity of the music increases, almost to the point of sounding raucous.  Have you noted the image that accompanies this music on Youtube?  Jesus is alive, and hovering in majesty, but beneath him there is turmoil: the lid of his tomb has toppled, stones are overturned, and soldiers are in disarray. 

    • How might you see God at work as the corona virus disrupts everyday life?  What structures of power have shown that they might not be as powerful as once believed?  Where might you see the majesty of God at work right now, even in the midst of turmoil?

  • Starting at 3:00, there is a mighty rush of sound, which leads to a moment of silence.  And then, all the instruments begin to sing a glorious, calm, transcendent refrain of the same music we have been hearing, led by the eery other-wordly theremin.

  • From about 5:15 to the end, the music returns to its rhythmical dance, and increases in joyful abandon until the very end, repeating the words “Pour nous! (for us!)” over and over, until the cymbals thunder into a final, glorious crash.

    • If you made it all the way through this unusual piece, congratulations!  I had the good fortune of knowing how the music would end, and for me, it doesn’t get any less amazing, each time I hear it.  Now: living through such a time as this, and not knowing how long this quarantine will last, or when life will begin again, what is it that sustains you during this time of “not knowing”?  Might the marvelous conclusion of this wild but meaningful  music be a guide for your prayer, as you navigate the unknowns of these coming weeks?

 

 

Text (English translation): The Beloved has gone, it is for us! The Beloved has ascended, it is for us! The Beloved has prayed, it is for us! He has spoken, he has sung, The Word was in God! He has spoken, he has sung, And the Word was God! Praise of the Father, substance of the Father, imprint and reflection always, in Love, Word of Love! Through the Word, the Father said: it is I, Word of my breast! Through it, the Father said: it is I, the Word is in my breast! The Word is praise, a model in blue for angels, a blue trumpet that prolongs the day, through Love, song of Love! He was rich and happy, he gave his heaven! He was rich and happy, to complete his heaven! The Son is the presence, the Spirit is the presence! Those who have received grace always, for Love, children of Love! He lives, he is present, and He speaks to Himself in Himself! He lives, he is present, and He speaks to Himself in Himself! Present in the blood of the soul, soul-breathing star, everywhere present, winged mirror of days, through love, the God of Love! [The Beloved has gone, It is for us!...]

Contemplations with Music

This is Joseph Byrd, Music Director at St. Ignatius Church in Portland, Oregon, inviting you to join me for Contemplations with Music, a prayerful, reflective journey in which we’ll explore all kinds of sounds, settings, performers, and styles, as we find our way through these days with the corona virus.

You’re invited to use Contemplations in Music in the following ways:

  • 1) Listen to the selection below prior to reading about it.  Notice your responses as you do so.  What do you like/dislike about it?  Where does the music lead you, as you hold it in prayer?  What arises in you – what thought, stories, situations, memories?  How might you bring these to God, in prayer? Or,

  • 2) Read the walk-through guide below, before listening.  What are your expectations, as you sift through the description of what you are about to hear?  Listen to the selection, and then notice what your own experiences are.  If you were to journal, or draw, while listening, what might that look like?  Can you bring these words and/or images to God?  What happens when you do?

  • 3) Listen and follow the walk-through guide at the same time.  If you were to create your own walk-through guide, to accompany what you are hearing, what might it say?  How do you find yourself accompanying those around you during these days of social distancing?  With help from St. Ignatius Loyola, as he would encourage us to find God in all things, how do you find yourself being accompanied by God presently?

Spiegel im Spiegel/Arvo Pärt (b.1935)

              

Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror) consists of the simplest musical elements possible:

  • Arpeggios (Notes within a single chord, that are played in succession)

  • Scales (The patterns of notes that make up a key, or what we know as “Do, Re, Mi,” etc. from the musical The Sound of Music)

  • Pedal tones (Notes that are held for a long time, either above or below the rest of the music, and that remain the same throughout their duration)

Arvo Pärt, an Estonian composer, has written lots of music you’ve probably already heard, but had no idea it was his.  Featured in movies and soundtracks, Spiegel im Spiegel is one of the most arresting, most affecting pieces that my wife, Grace, and I have ever played in concert.  What is it about this music that reaches people?  Consider:

  • As we live in these days of Easter, and wade through scripture that describes incredible encounters with the Risen Christ, what are you noticing in yourself?  What is your desire this week, in prayer, as you pray?  What kind of prayer does this music invite in you?

  • Pope Francis, in his Easter Vigil homily, said: “Let us silence the cries of death!  No more wars!  May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns!  Let abortion and the killing of innocent lives end!  May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have necessities.”   Waging peace is not easy work, and may be similar to the years of practice it takes to write music like this.  How are you practicing peace-making in your life at present? 

  • The title, Mirror in Mirror, suggests eternity.  How do you find yourself contemplating eternal things this week, after the highs and lows of last week’s holy story?  In what eternal realities are you able to trust, during these uncertain days of pandemic?

Dear parishioners,

Blessed Easter to you all. Here's a recording of, and the lyric to, the Exsultet -- the song that we sing on this night, at the Vigil. Grace and I recorded it in the church, and you might hear some sirens going by. As you listen, please pray for all those in harm's way: our health-care workers especially, and for all those who suffer this night. "This is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld."

It was truly no fun to sing it without you all there. But, as our Jewish brothers and sisters say at the end of the Passover meal -- "Next year, in Jerusalem!" -- I say to you, "Next year, in person."

Peace and all good,


Joseph Byrd

ExsultetArtist Name
00:00 / 06:30

 The Exsultet

ST. IGNATIUS CHURCH

3400 SE 43rd St.

Portland, Oregon 97206

Phone: 503-777-1491

Fax: 503-777-3142

Office hours: Mon-Thur 9:00am-4:00pm

email: office@sipdx.org

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CONTACT US
ST. IGNATIUS SCHOOL

3330 SE 43rd St.

Portland, Oregon 97206

Phone: 503-774-5533

Fax: 503-788-1134

website: www.sispdx.org

email: school@sipdx.org

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