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This soundscape by Jonathon Roberts walks with the Apostle Paul as he discovers God's grace among the struggles of life.

Soundscape, theater
Jonathon Roberts (Paul), Emma Sweet, Aram Monisoff, Charlie Christenson, Anneliese Dediemar, Emily Clare Zempel, Brendan Marshall-Rashid, Fred Gaines, Paris Brown, Jacob Allen, Maryl McNally, Marie Mikels
Additional Text
Christy Bagasao
Scott Baye
Artist Location


2 Corinthians 2:15–16

15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

2 Corinthians 12:7–10

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Romans 8:15–19

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Jonathon Roberts

Jonathon Roberts

From the Artist

This sound and music collage explores God’s grace and the concept of “power in weakness.” The text is from Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and the Romans with original writings by Christy Bagasao in reaction to his letters. The soundtrack is primarily crafted from ambient sounds, voices and performers on a balmy night on a main street in Santa Barbara, California. Listen on headphones to hear the world of sounds that circle the speaking voices.

This piece focuses on questions people have asked for ages, not just “Why do bad things happen to good people?” but "Why do bad things happen at all?"

Apostle Paul was an extraordinary and ordinary man who struggled with these same thoughts. "Why do I do what I don’t want to do? Why am I weak?" This piece contains excerpts of his writings to the Corinthians and the Romans. Seven passages from his writings are used verbatim in this piece. Additionally Christy Bagasao’s writing expresses Paul’s point that we have sufficient power because God’s grace works through our weakness.

"No matter how deep the pit, God's grace is deeper" is a quote from Corrie Ten Boom, read by my grandmother Marie Mikels.

This piece is part of a larger theater work called Project Paul. The image is a still taken from the video by Scott Baye that supports this scene.

Credits: Original Text: Christy Bagasao Images: Scott Baye Audio: Jonathon Roberts Voice Actors: Emma Sweet, Aram Monisoff, Charlie Christenson, Anneliese Dediemar, Emily Clare Zempel, Brendan Marshall-Rashid, Fred Gaines, Paris Brown, Jacob Allen, Maryl McNally, Marie Mikels


Jonathon Roberts is a composer and sound designer for games, film, theatre, and ensembles. His style grew out of classical and jazz training, and evolved through quality life adventures: touring the country in an RV with a one person theater piece on the Apostle Paul, living in Brooklyn with an improv music ensemble, performing in a downtown NYC absurdist comedy band, and a long stint writing music for the renowned slot machine company, High 5 Games. He has released four albums including the latest, Cities a song cycle personifying biblical cities. He created the popular podcast/web series ComposerDad Vs. Bible, in which ComposerDad accepts intense compositional challenges from a mysterious Bible while out with his kids. He frequently collaborates on music and theater projects with his wife, actor Emily Clare Zempel. They live in Beacon, NY, with their two boys and a tangled box of electrical cords.


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