Jazz performers combine music, spirituality (via Pantagraph)

Almost every week from the second Sunday of September through Pentecost, which this year is June 4, the Westminster Presbyterian Church holds a 50-minute Jazz Vespers service.

The 4 p.m. service at the church on West Moss Avenue consists of a “small combo in jazz standards and original compositions” and is led by David Hoffman, who was the trumpet/flugelhorn soloist and composer/arranger with the Ray Charles Orchestra for 15 years.

The Rev. Denise Clark-Jones calls the “upbeat, shorter service” a different way of worship that came about when she noticed the jazz services done periodically at churches in her home state of Pennsylvania were less common in the Peoria area.

“We chose jazz because it is American, it crosses racial, ethnic, generational boundaries,” Clark-Jones said. “There are all kinds of jazz, from different ethnic groups, it’s very inclusive music, and we’re very surprised and happy to find there is a tremendous jazz community here in central Illinois.”

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