Desert Mass

I majored in Music at John Brown University. I started in Worship Ministries / Church Music, where I wanted to do more general music stuff, and then moved to General Music, where I wanted to do more weird stuff. I could play flute, but that wasn’t a major. I was supposed to be a vocal major but I didn’t really want to sing. The poor faculty didn’t really know what to do with me, so they kindly let me kind of make my own major.

With the very patient assistance and guidance of one of my professors, Kayla, I helped put together the requirements for a new, more flexible music major. There was a bit about getting credit for the classes I wanted to take and not having to take the ones that were unnecessary to my bizarre ambitions, and that took some doing.

My big thing, though, was having a project at the end instead of a recital. When I started working on it, I wasn’t exactly sure what it would be. I knew it would be made up of music I wrote, and I wanted it to be a story – but I also knew I didn’t want it to be a musical. I wanted the music to be unique, drawing on traditions from around the world. And I wanted it to say something about faith.

Desert Mass is the result of that. It’s electronic music, and it’s choir music; it’s the Catholic Mass, and it’s the Muslim call to prayer; it’s a song cycle, and it’s also a cyclical story. I’m pretty proud of how it came out.

I had a great time making it, leading and collaborating with a team of almost two dozen creatives – choir, band, soloists, visual artists, and everyone else involved, not to mention my ever-supportive faculty.

I’m always looking for more opportunities to blend story and music and philosophy and everything else all together. If you’re looking to collaborate, let me know!

Credits

  • Concept, Music, and Story – Jeremiah Christie
  • Narrator – Brad Webber
  • Soloist – Kyra Hopkins
  • Band
    • Lee Charles (djembe)
    • Jeremiah Christie (voice, keyboard, programming, piano)
    • Joyanne Dangers (djembe)
    • Christine McPherson (viola)
    • Natalie Slater (djembe)
    • Kyle Spencer (guitar)
  • Choir
    • Brandon Bolin
    • Madeleine Breeden
    • Christopher Brown
    • Jesse Einfalt
    • Andrea Greene
    • Kyra Hopkins
    • Brittany Magstadt
    • Jordan McHone
    • Christine McPherson
    • Emily Olson
    • Kathryn Radaker
    • Kyle Spencer
    • Don Thames
  • Graphic Design – Natalie Slater & Jeremiah Christie
  • Additional Visual Art – Jenny Loken
  • Project Supervisor – Dr. Jan Wubbena
  • Department Head – Terri Wubbena
  • Lights & Sound – Melissa Mitchell
  • Live Mix – Ross Ward
  • Additional post-production & video – Jeremiah Christie
  • Performed and recorded on 27 March 2008 @ Cathedral of the Ozarks, John Brown University