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Susquehanna Brings Jazz to Worship Service

Published on November 15, 2011

Susquehanna University’s Office of the Chaplain and Department of Music will offer aJoshua Davis Jazz Vespers worship service Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Weber Chapel. The service is open to the public.

Following the historical order of vespers—traditionally the principal evening worship service of the Christian Church—and celebrating the church’s Festival of Christ the King, the service will incorporate select songs, with jazz accompaniment and improvisation, into musical portions of the liturgy. Songs include “Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Soon and Very Soon (We Are Going to See the King)” and “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me.”

“[The result] will be a dynamic blending of the traditional with the contemporary, the fixed with the fluid, the contemplative with the expressive, and worship with performance,” said The Rev. Mark Wm. Radecke, university chaplain.

Musical leaders for the service will be the Josh Davis Group, led by bassist/composer Joshua Davis, associate professor of music at Susquehanna.

Susquehanna sponsors of the service were inspired by SU alumnus John Gensel, who served in the 1960s as pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City. Gensel befriended New York’s musicians and designed a service of prayer and jazz for folks who couldn’t make it to Sunday morning services after playing late-night gigs on Saturday night.
Coffee and a time for conversation will follow the service.

The service is part of Susquehanna’s Worship in a New Key series, providing opportunities for campus and community members—including pastors, congregational leaders, and worship and music committees, as well as students and parishioners—to experience diverse styles of worship. The series continues on Feb. 12, 2012, with a contemporary/alternative worship service at 6:30 p.m. in Weber Chapel.


Karen M. Jones


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