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From pop music to the mysteries of Mary Magdalene

Musician finds inspiration in the religious figure, will share findings July 31


by: SUBMITTED - Singer-songwriter Libbie Schrader, an alumna of Lake Oswego High School, will share her research on the religious figure Mary Magdalene at Christ Church Episcopal Parish on July 31.Inspiration for music and art can come unexpectedly from many sources. Singer songwriter Libbie Schrader, a graduate of Lake Oswego High School, is uncertain what inspired her to write a song about the religious figure Mary Magdalene, but the muse is compelling her to turn her creative talents in a new direction. She will begin studies at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City this fall.

“For the last 12 years or so I’ve mainly written pop songs about my personal life. But this song just kind of came on its own at the end of 2010, and it was written with very little effort and over just a couple of days,” Schrader said.

She didn’t know much about Mary Magdalene and hadn’t given her much thought but decided the experience was strange enough that she should learn more about her.

“I walked over to the Brooklyn Public Library to get ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mary Magdalene,’” she said. “It seemed like a good, unbiased introduction to the subject.” From that book and others Schrader learned many of the mysteries about Mary Magdalene were based in the south of France.

“I thought I’d like to go to France to see those things firsthand,” she said.

Schrader speaks French “passably well,” and as luck, or divine intervention, would have it, she was able to take a weeklong trip to rural France, where she met a man who was also doing research on Mary Magdalene. The two became friends and continue to stay in touch.

“He was a big fan of my song and asked me to write an article for a little French journal that he edits on the subject of Mary Magdalene,” she said.

Two years later Schrader is still working on the article, which has morphed into an academic paper on Mary Magdalene being the “anonymous discipline whom Jesus loved,” mentioned in the Bible’s Gospel of Luke.

“Surprisingly I find that I’m quite good at theology. In a nutshell I seem to have made three new connections on Mary Magdalene that have never been explored before,” she said. “I’ve spoken with several world-class scholars and gotten a great deal of help from them. My paper has also already gone through two rounds of initial peer review, and I am about to submit a revision.”

Schrader’s musical career began with a formidable win at the inaugural Pantene Pro-Voice competition in 2001, when she beat out more than 1,200 other female-fronted acts and opened for Jewel at SummerStage in New York’s Central Park. Her band also took part in Jewel’s “Soul City Café” program for independent artists and, as a result, she opened three shows on Jewel’s “This Way” tour. She has also opened for artists as diverse as India.Arie, Michelle Branch, Ray LeMontagne and Rusted Root. She continues to perform across the nation.

Schrader will present her findings on Mary Magdalene on July 31 at 7 p.m. at Christ Church Episcopal Parish, 1060 Chandler Road in Lake Oswego. The event is free and open to the public.

In 2011, Schrader raised more than $26,000 through her fan base to record her latest album, “Magdalene,” which is available for purchase on www.CDBaby.com and iTunes.



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