St. Joseph’s Church, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is known for its incredible acoustics.

Bill Schaefer/Galveston Historical Foundation


Singer and songwriter Matthew Ryan admits that he isn’t a “great” singer per se. Words, ideas and melodies are what’s important to him the most because it’s the way that he’s able to convey what he’s feeling through his songs that will be sung at a special event Thursday sponsored by the Galveston Historical Foundation.

The Foundation will present a special night of music with Ryan at the helm at 7 p.m. Thursday at the historical 1859 St. Joseph’s Church, 2202 Ave. K. Tickets are $20 per person and available at

Ryan, who has been performing since 1987, got his start in music after watching a performance by U2 at Live-Aid.

“When I saw them at Live-Aid, I was fully recruited,” Ryan said. “I’m not the showman that Bono is by any means, but when I saw what was possible with a voice and embattled perseverance, I was hooked. It was their version of ‘Bad’ in particular that day that ignited me. Our family had some turmoil with my brother leaning toward some of the darkness in life. That song and that performance is essentially my ‘alma mater.’ In life there’s darkness, but we’re stronger than darkness if we want to be.”

The completely acoustic performance will highlight Ryan’s interpretations through songs and words in a subtle way that he says will not feel like a performance and/or concert.

“I do the best I can to convey words, ideas and melodies that are important to me in a song without any sense of ‘performance,’” Ryan said. “My hope as a singer is to have a conversation with a listener. I’m looking for some version of that freedom and strength found in vulnerability and intimacy ... and honesty. And hopefully, a laugh or two. I aim for no salesmanship, but all the commitment possible. It’s a beautiful thing when an audience hands itself over to that with me.”

St. Joseph’s, which is the oldest German Catholic Church in Texas — and the oldest wooden church building in Galveston — was built by German immigrants in 1859 according to the Foundation. Now de-sanctified and managed by the Foundation, the gothic revival church is distinguished by its elaborately detailed coffered wooden ceiling, delicately painted wooden sanctuary, original pews and hand-carved altars. The Foundation preserves the building as a museum and makes it available as an event venue.

“Aside from being a beautiful structure all on its own, St. Joseph’s also has incredible acoustics,” said Will Wright, director of communications and special events at the Galveston Historical Foundation.”We use the property for a variety of events and functions throughout the year, but concerts seem to be what it does best. Previous musicians have all found that their performance is better suited without any amplification, and thankfully, Ryan was game to do that as well. Our shows at St. Joe’s are among the unique performances we have and are an incredible way to enjoy the historic property.

A special selection of craft beer and wine also will be available for attendees with a donation.

“I hope the people of Galveston and nearby will come out,” said Ryan. “I’m really looking forward to playing at St. Joseph’s. The shows I’ve played in churches have always had a certain warmth and cinema. I’ve heard beautiful things about the area and the room. I can’t wait to perform there on Thursday.”

Contact Community News Editor Angela Wilson, or 409-683-5239.

Angela Wilson is the community news editor for The Daily News.

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