In Your Midst


Spring 2002

In This Issue:
From folk singing in Montana — to featured roles with the Seattle Opera — to resident mezzo-soprano soloist at St. James Cathedral, this is a very brief description of Louise Marley’s range of talents. Louise refers to those days just out of college when she sang in folk-music groups as her “hip-huggers” days. And they were good days, as it was in Great Falls, Montana that Louise met her husband Jake while he was a captain in the Air Force. They married in 1975 and then moved to Seattle. 

Jake and Louise Marley and their son, Zack.

Jake began his civilian career as a mechanical engineer and Louise continued her music education in a master’s degree program at the University of Washington. Their son Zachary was born here in 1983. 

Dr. James Savage, Cathedral director of music, soon heard of Louise in the local music scene and was able to bring her on board as a soloist in the Cathedral Choir. 

The Marleys also found a spiritual home at St. James. Louise was received into full communion in 1992; Zack made his First Communion here when he was about 10 and Jake was formally received into the church several years ago. Now at the 10 AM Sunday Mass, Jake will be greeting parishioners and visitors in the West Vestibule as an usher; Zack usually carries the cross at the head of the liturgical procession and Louise’s incredibly lovely mezzo-soprano voice blends in with the richness of the Cathedral Choir. 

Jake said what their family loves to do together is travel. “Our year’s itinerary is Italy and one national park,” he said. And they travel a lot. Louise has sung in Italy, Russia, France and Spain with the Cathedral Choirs. One of their first trips was when Zack was 3 years old and the St. James Choir sang for Pope John Paul II in Rome. The choir had a private audience with the pope and Zack not only met him, but also received a kiss. Zack was quite taken with the moment and informed his mother, “He’s a good pope, Mom.”

Now 18, Zack, a senior at Redmond High School, is a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist and has been nominated as a Presidential Scholar. The whole family is waiting to hear where he has been accepted for college.

Louise said she first sang with the Seattle Opera in 1987 and has done five shows with them. She said, “I did several concerts with the Seattle Symphony as well – in fact, to tell the truth, I think I’ve sung with just about every Pacific Northwest musical organization. Mostly now I sing at St. James and write books!”

Louise is a science-fiction author and her first book, Sing the Light, was published in 1995. Her novels published so far are: The Glass Harmonica, The Terrorists of Irustan, Sing the Warmth, and Receive the Gift. Coming this year is The Marquisarde and in 2003, with some help from our Sister Frances Wink, The Child Goddess. The latter will feature a woman Catholic priest.

Maggie Jordan started attending St. James Cathedral in the mid 80s. She moved from her home in Kettle Falls, Washington and began working as a nanny on Mercer Island until she moved to food services at Swedish Hospital. The late Chuck Giese, exuberant parishioner and welcoming greeter, soon met Maggie and suggested she become a Eucharistic Minister. That was just the beginning of Maggie’s helpful commitment to the Cathedral. When the now Father James Johnson was the Cathedral sacristan he knew Maggie from when she helped replace candles in the shrines. He started her on a career as an adult altar server, and ever since Maggie has been a fixture at Saturday evening’s Vigil Mass. She also helps move prie-dieux and large candelabras in preparation for Cathedral weddings. 

Maggie Jordan: Atlanta Braves fan and Cathedral volunteer extraordinaire.

But Maggie’s most important, if unseen, ministry around the Cathedral is stuffing the weekly bulletins. She is the sole person responsible for filling the weekly Cathedral bulletin with the order of worship and one or two inserts of forthcoming events. That’s 3,000 bulletins a week done between Friday afternoon and the 5:30 PM, Saturday Vigil Mass. Maggie estimates she has filled 2.5 million bulletins over the years. 

Maggie’s brother, Guy, introduced her to major league baseball years ago when he took her to an Atlanta Braves game. She has been a serious, dyed-in-the-wool fan ever since. With Maggie’s retentive memory and curiosity about numbers, her in-field chatter about the Braves statistics is equal to that of any baseball commentator.

Beside the Braves, Maggie is fond of celebrities. Her favorite sweatshirt and autograph until recently was of Linda Evans. Maggie had a photograph taken several years ago at a local book signing with the actress. She had the photo copied onto a shirt. But just this past winter, she added to her collection with an autograph from Conan O’Brien. Maggie met him in the Cathedral sacristy just before his wedding to Liza Powel in January.

Joan McDonell is a parishioner and a member of the Cathedral Development Committee.

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