Q&A: Pastor Pat Wright Samples Cornell, Sabzi, and Jesus (Naturally)


Q&A: Pastor Pat Wright Samples Cornell, Sabzi, and Jesus (Naturally)

  • Q&A: Pastor Pat Wright Samples Cornell, Sabzi, and Jesus (Naturally)

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    With her Total Experience Gospel Choir, now in its fourth decade, Pastor Pat Wright has traveled as far outside the choir room as Neumos to collaborate with Common Market. She's also gone into the studio to record a stirring cover of Soundgarden's "Jesus Christ Pose". And for her 12th year, Wright's leading the Intiman Theatre's production of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity: A Gospel Song Play.

    SW: You were a pastor's kid who graduated to being a pastor yourself.

    PW: Yeah, but I wasn't that strict on my kids. My kids don't even go to church now. They're adults. They've been trained to do the right thing and if they don't want to adhere to what they've been taught, that's on them. I did my part.

    Are you trying to convert people with Black Nativity?

    By no means; we shout out to as many denominations as we know of. We're hoping that everybody will understand that it is actually a plea for peace and unity...to get people to understand that the only thing that divides us, I think, is ignorance.

    How has the show changed over the last decade? I noticed a reference to Obama last night.

    Last year was absolutely off the charts with emotions because of the election-- because he is African-American, and who would have thunk it that in my lifetime I would have seen it. I'm still jubilant. I'm still in awe.

    Why is it called Black Nativity and not just Nativity?

    It's the Nativity story through the eyes of black people. We added the dance and up-to-date music for the relevancy of today, but the story line is the same, just as Langston Hughes wrote it.

    This is your last year in this space. No room at The Intiman?

    We never dreamed that it would be this popular in Seattle. This is not a religiously popular town, by no means. To tell you the truth, this is our 12th year, we're just now getting the black audience. On the 10th Anniversary, more black people showed up that year than I'd seen in all the years prior to that.

    You have a large cast in a small theater. Do you pay everyone in the cast?


    You've collaborated with Common Market. How do you like hip-hop?

    I like hip-hop. It's the young peoples' way of expressing their love or disgust with what's going on in this country. I listen to it because I want to hear what they're thinking. And I have a grandson who lives with me who's 18 years old, so, I'm there. Whether I want to listen to it or not.

    Do you censor what he listens to at all?

    I don't really censor it. He has enough respect for his grandfather and I not to play certain stuff. Anything that has disrespect to women, he doesn't listen to that.

    Did you find spirituality in Soundgarden's "Jesus Christ Pose"?

    Oh, yes. The lyrics to that song, they cross over. Hypocrisy is the key there. A lot of people who profess to be something that they're not, is the wrong example for our young people to see. I see that in the church, all churches. The hypocrisy is tremendous. Certain songs from secular music really strike a chord with me.

    Did you talk to Matt Cameron about want was going on with the band when they wrote it?

    I could tell what was going on with the band when I saw the video.

    What song would you like to have sung at your funeral?

    "Then My Living Shall Not Be In Vain."

    Who would sing it?

    Josephine Howell. She's the lady who did "Alabaster Box" last night (in Black Nativity).

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