Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jazz in Worship Workshop

Tulips on Bloor Street - a welcome sight on a gray morning.

After our wonderfully late night, Gerald and I were up bright and early (well, early at least...) to attend two very different all-day workshops. Gerald headed west to attend NSAI's Music Row North. As I write this, he's in the thick of songwriting workshops and song critiques.

I went to St. Andrew's Church to attend a workshop on jazz in worship. Sponsored by the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society, the workshop was advertised as a "beginner's guide" to adding jazz to your worship repertoire. The workshop was facilitated by Rev. Tim Elliot and drummer, Brian Barlow. The first half of the day, Tim and Brian gave us the history of their fateful meeting and how Jazz Vespers began. We discussed the unique quality, and some of the challenges and triumphs, that jazz can bring to a worship experience.

The afternoon session kicked off with the sounds of an amazing jazz quartet (see photo below). Tim and the quartet lead us in the singing of several classic hymns, all arranged in a jazz style. We ended the day with a mini-Jazz Vespers.

What an incredible way to spend the day! My mind is buzzing with ideas...

Jazz Vespers quartet:
Mark Eisenmen, piano; Alex Dean, saxophone; Scott Alexander, bass; Brian Barlow, drums.

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