October 1, 2007
Roches to rock ‘Cradle of Christianity’
By Carol Clark
The rich harmonies of The Roches singing group will fill Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum on Thursday, Oct. 11, when the songwriting sisters perform music from their Zero Church Project. The concert, featuring prayers from around the world set to music, celebrates the exhibit “Cradle of Christianity: Jewish and Christian Treasures from the Holy Land,” continuing at the Carlos Museum through Oct. 14. Tickets for the concert, set for 8 p.m. in the museum’s Reception Hall, cost $20 and may be ordered via the exhibit’s Web site.
Emory’s own No Strings Attached, an all-male a cappella ensemble, will sing several numbers with The Roches during the program.
“We only do the Zero Church concert on very special occasions, when we feel that the people who are putting it on realize the sensitive nature of the program. After all, people entrusted us with their prayers and we take that very seriously,” said Suzzy Roche, who will be performing with her sisters Maggie and Terry Roche.
The New Jersey singers are known for complex harmonies, quirky lyrics and folksy live performances. The Zero Church Project grew out of Suzzy Roche’s participation in the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University in the summer of 2001.
She asked friends and strangers to share a prayer or meditation that she and her sisters could set to music. The result is an open-hearted collection of personal entreaties to a higher power that transcends boundaries of religious identity.
“The Zero Church Project had a mind of its own and our job was to be its midwife,” Suzzy Roche said. “The landscape of prayers is a rich and vulnerable place to work. The surprise for me was that so many people have been affected by it. Because the prayers are coming from individuals and not religions, I think it tends to open the subject up.”
The concert “is the perfect complement to an exhibition that is exploring issues of interfaith discussion and communication,” said Elizabeth Hornor, director of education at the Carlos Museum.
“Cradle of Christianity” explores aspects of early Jewish life and the concurrent birth of Christianity by presenting artifacts drawn from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which houses the foremost collection of biblical archeology in the world. Emory students, faculty and staff may view the exhibit for free on Wednesdays.