The impact of Jesus: he changes everything, he changes us. The first to receive him were his mother and those disciples who walked with him in Galilee and Judea. They were there when he entered Jerusalem the final time. The twelve were there when gave his body and his blood in the Upper Room, they went with him to Gethsemane, then, one by one, they left his side. Mary and John were nearby when he was crucified, the others were distant. He was buried, and they were alone. On Holy Saturday, they remained in a space of sorrow and shame, of shock and of trauma. The crucifixion was behind them, the Resurrection yet to come. What did they think, how did they feel, what and how did they remember in that liminal space between memory and hope? That is the setting of an original composition of the Notre Dame Folk Choir called The Passion.
The composer of this astounding work is my guest today. J.J. Wright is the director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir. He holds a doctoral degree in conducting from Notre Dame’s sacred music program, prior to which he studied at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and interned with the Sistine Chapel Choir. He started working on The Passion with the Notre Dame Children’s Choir and carried that work into the Notre Dame Folk Choir a few years ago. The final work of The Passion emerged from a broad collaboration with other artists and, perhaps most important of all, with his own students, the members of the Notre Dame Folk Choir. The Passion is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and other audio outlets, as well as on the Notre Dame Folk Choir’s YouTube channel, where there is a recording of the live performance of The Passion from Notre Dame on Good Friday, 2023. J.J. joins me to talk about the space of memory that this work draws us into, the creative process of music and prayer and pilgrimage, and the way in which the impact of Jesus never ceases, as the Paschal Mystery is the center of our lives as Christians, today and always.
● “Creating the Passion,” article with interviews.
● “The Making of ‘The Passion’” (video) about the Notre Dame Folk Choir in Jerusalem
● The Passion live from Notre Dame on Good Friday, 2023 (video)
● The Notre Dame Folk Choir YouTube Channel
● The Passion on Spotify
● Website for the Notre Dame Folk Choir
This episode is sponsored by the University of Saint Francis, https://www.sf.edu/about/camps-and-community-programs/#camp7
Church Life Today is a partnership between the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and OSV Podcasts from Our Sunday Visitor. Discover more ways to live, learn, and love your Catholic faith at osvpodcasts.com. Sharing stories, starting conversations.