Continuing in our series on Philemon, Spark and Echo Arts Founder Jonathon Roberts creates a musical groove to illuminate Philemon 1:17-21:

So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.



Voice by Emily Clare Zempel with Walter Kermit Zempel Roberts
Music and Editing by Jonathon Roberts



Artist Statement:
While developing this work, I was mostly struck by the first phrase, “if you consider me a partner.” I’ve been writing music and editing sound for years, first alone and then with my wife, Emily. Now we have a new partner in our life, our one-year-old Walter. Emily and I now run voiceover recording sessions at home while trading off who holds Walter and who is performing.
It’s a long road, but I’m learning how to be a better creative partner, both with Walter and with Emily. As I edited this piece, I tried to create a musical groove and soundscape that naturally weaves in the outbursts and exclamations that occurred when we recorded Emily performing the text. A drum hit here, a synth line there, a word or phrase got replaced with their interjections. If I “consider them partners” in my life, I need to welcome them, as Paul insists, in every way.




Jonathon MT Roberts is a composer and performer who is writing his way through the Bible. His responses include everything from piano/vocal songs to large ensemble works, electronic music, and theatrical sound designs. He has a classical background influenced by pop, jazz, and musical theater. Some of his work is funny. He performs with his wife Emily Clare Zempel in The Spark & Echo Band and has toured the US with his multimedia theater work Project Paul. With Emily he also co-founded the arts non-profit Spark and Echo Arts which is commissioning artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, and theatrical performers to respond to every verse of the Bible. He lives in Beacon, NY, and works in NYC as a composer and sound designer at High 5 Games.