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Fools for Christ is a composition for saxophone quartet, voice, and electronics setting some of Apostle Paul's more intense words, primarily from his letter to the Corinthians. It is part of the larger theatrical production, Project Paul.

1 Corinthians 4:8-21

1 Corinthians 4:3

1 Corinthians 6:12

Acts 26:24

Acts 20:31

1 Thessalonians 5:19

Galatians 4:12–16

Galatians 5:15

Fools for Christ


Jonathon Roberts


Saxophone Quartet: Chris Clouthier, Allison Davis, Mark Determan, Kim Reece // Voice (Apostle Paul): Jonathon Roberts // Additional Voices: Jacob Allen, Paris Brown, Charlie Christenson, Anneliese DeDiemar, Brendan Marshall-Rashid, Maryl McNally, Aram Monisoff, Emma Sweet, Delilah the Guinea Pig // Image: Scott Baye // Additional Text: Christy Bagasao // Artist Location: Wisconsin

Curated by: 

Spark+Echo Arts


Music (Saxophone Quartet, Vocals, Effects), theater, performance

Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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Fools for Christ was originally composed for saxophone quartet and voice, setting part of the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. It was then reworked through electronic processing as part of my multimedia theater piece Project Paul.

In his travels Paul used a variety of methods to speak to different groups of people depending on what he thought they needed to hear. Sometimes he used kind words of encouragement, other times sarcasm and humor. In the case of “Fools for Christ”, he spoke with intensity, frustration, discipline and even anger. It’s important to remember that at the root of all is his words is love. He loved the Corinthians and was trying to reach them in any way possible with the hope and love of Jesus that had been shown to him.

The piece begins with a montage of Paul’s more intense words. The driving sounds accompanying the first half of the piece are a combination of sampled instruments, vocal effects, toys and one guinea pig named Delilah. Excerpts from a choral setting of Psalm 46, a jazz ensemble version of the hymn “Oh, Sacred Head Now Wounded”, and some of my other compositions are woven together in this collage.

The soundtrack of the second half of the piece features a recording of saxophone quartet (playing the original live concert version of “Fools for Christ”) that has been distorted. As Paul’s stern message warms in love, so the saxophones’ distortion is stripped away revealing pure tones.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

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.

Jonathon Roberts

About the Artist

Loving Arms

I Make Tents

The Sower


There Is Room

These are My Sons

Consider Me a Partner


The Day Is Almost Here



Remember Me


How Beautiful

I Am a Fool

The Constant

Ecclesiastes Cows


More Than Rubies

Only a Few Years Will Pass

Dear Friend

Jonathon Roberts

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