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Rome Reports

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Composer finds inspiration for music through tragic event

Filled with emotion, composer J.J. Wright combines jazz, sacred music and personal experiences to create a Vespers service. His new album aims to bring listeners closer to God. 

“And so when I was thinking through this piece, and really trying to think of a way that we can pray Vespers for the Immaculate Conception in a new way. I imagined different ways to combine the music that I was studying with the music that I knew to create a full experience of the Vespers service.”

Writing the piece has not been all easy. Halfway through writing it, his wife had a miscarriage; an event that brought J.J. closer to the Blessed Mother.

“There was so much kind of confusion around that whole experience, and in a way, it was really providential to be digging in and exploring these texts for the feast of the Immaculate Conception because it gave me the opportunity to really develop my own devotion to the Blessed Mother in a way that I hadn't had the opportunity before. And in this devotion, I was really able to pray with these texts and pray with this feast in a way that offered comfort and consolation during this really difficult time.”

Instead of stopping the piece, he was filled with a closeness to the Blessed Mother. These emotions are showcased in his new album, with everything from Gregorian chants to string quartets that show the struggles families go through.

“Vespers for the Immaculate Conception” will be performed on Dec. 5 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The music invites others to hone in on what they hear, and listen to God's voice in a new way. 

Rachel Dobrzynski