St. Luke's Passion - March 2024
  • Drake
    Posts: 214
    It is my joyous privilege to share some wonderful news and extend the following invitation to all of you, my dear friends on the forum:

    Please join me on March 20, 2024, Wednesday of Passion Week, at 7:00 PM, in the Church of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas, for a meditation in music on the Passion of Jesus Christ. Scored for SATB choir with string quartet embellishments, this original composition includes eighty-two verses of St. Luke’s passion narrative from the Latin Vulgate. Much of the music is polyphonic, but a variety of textures are employed. This premier performance is coupled with a penance service, during which priests will be available for individual confessions. The penance service starts at 7:00 PM, and the music should begin around 7:15 PM. Admission is free. Our Lord will remain reserved in the tabernacle, so please wear your Sunday best to the sacred music concert and observe a modest silence.

    It is almost difficult to believe the event is happening.

    The composition of St. Luke’s Passion only began at the end of February 2023. In some way I cannot completely explain, I completed the work in June 2023, having had mostly three-day weekends to devote to it, since I’m a full-time software engineer (my 40 hours get compressed into a 4-by-10 schedule). In addition to the setting of the passion narrative itself, I also completed a setting of Adoramus Te to be inserted after the death of Christ. An estimate puts the full length of the work at somewhere around 80-90 minutes, with proper pauses. Finale plays it back in about 75 minutes.

    Then in July 2023, I met up with an old friend who is a very accomplished tenor and who had taken a position as music director for the Church of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas. One thing led to another, and I received permission from the rector of the church to have the work performed there as a sacred music concert! By September, the date and time of the concert was set, and recruitment of musicians had begun.

    By the grace of God, a choir of thirteen, including some professionals, semi-professionals, and creme-of-the-crop amateur church musicians has been solidified, practices are scheduled, and so many things have just fallen into place. The string quartet has also been found! Father wanted to make the sacred music concert semi-liturgical in some way, so he is combining it with a penance service, with individual confessions heard during the concert. He has high expectations for the event, stating:

    I believe that it will truly be a once in a lifetime experience whereby sacramental grace and sacred music will lead to such a profound moment of contrition.

    There are, of course, many details. In fact, the effort is a lot like planning a wedding, including everything from invitations to programs to setting up a live-stream (hopefully) for those who cannot be present in person. Prayers are greatly appreciated, as a lot of preparation falls to me.

    While it may sound a bit cliché, I am fully convinced that this whole project is from first to last God’s own doing. I shouldn’t be able to compose music like this to begin with — I’m just the poor pencil God mysteriously decided to use to write these notes down. From Father being excited about the project and all the musicians coming together, to encountering Bl. Elena Guerra’s meditation on the Agony in the Garden as a source of inspiration, and everything just falling into place — it was no accident.

    I know it is a long trek even for those in Texas (it’s a big state), but I would be so honored if any of you could make it. Please send me a PM if you are planning to come. I’d really like to have a “Musica Sacra forum meet-up” where we could meet in person, though it would probably have to be the following day.
  • Drake
    Posts: 214
    An update: The Benedict XVI Institute is cosponsoring the event.

    Barring technical difficulties, there will also be a live stream. For the most up-to-date information, I am posting at the following link:
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 300
    Sadly impossible for me to get over there. But this sounds like it will be absolutely fantastic.

    Another thought: if the string quartet embellishments could be arranged as an organ reduction, someday when you have time, that also might be very interesting for many of us...!
    Thanked by 1Drake