Choir & Music

PARISH CHOIR

The Parish Choir sings at the 10:30am Mass, September through May, and rehearses on Sunday mornings at 9:15am.  Come join us!  And talk with Joseph Byrd if you have any questions.

 

Peace and all good,
Joseph Byrd

IMG_9775.JPG

Joseph Byrd
Music Director & Pastoral Administrator
jbyrd@sipdx.org
(503) 777-1491 ext. 238

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

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?

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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

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Lyrics for Bonhoeffer music

 

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