Arts and Entertainment

Jazz meets gospel music in two concerts at St. David’s Episcopal Church


Jazz meets gospel music in two concerts at St. David’s Episcopal Church Sundays, Sept. 13 and 20 at 4 p.m. in Friday Harbor.

The arrangements are part of a continuing effort by veteran jazz saxophonist Rich Barker to create jazz arrangements for traditional sacred music.

“Over the years I have felt a growing desire to integrate the rich colors and textures of jazz with the spiritual beauty and powerful melodic lines of so many of our hymns," Barker said. "There are many jazz musicians doing the same thing. There are a growing number of CDs available in this genre."

He added, “I recently started writing choral anthems that combine sacred music with elements of jazz. I respect the traditional forms and melodic lines when I write, so I don’t get too far out. I’m not a wild and crazy guy.”

Some old favorites in new settings include “Amazing Grace,” “Because He Lives,” “In the Garden,” and “How Great Thou Art.”

Kathleen Wilson and Kate Schuman, two of the island's finest singers, will perform. The back-up singers include Margaret Barker, Roberta Leed and Judy Holm.

The band includes Tom Starr, trumpet; Barker, saxophones; Carrie Brooks, keyboards; Jonathan Piff, guitar; Denny Holm, drums; Jim Vedder, bass; and Rob Simpson on St. David’s organ.

Early seating is advised. “If people are left out, we may have to do a third concert,” said Barker, who will conduct the concerts.

There is no admission charge, but suggested donations are $10 a person or $20 a family.

All proceeds will benefit St David’s Building Fund, which is still paying the costs of the church’s structural renovations.

St. David's is located at the corner of Park and Marguerite in Friday Harbor.

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