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Moravian Jazz Vespers Service to be held at College Hill Moravian Church

Service will feature music by composers Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Horace Silver, and Charlie Parker

Bethlehem, Pa., February 8, 2007—For the first time ever, the Moravian College Jazz Faculty Quartet, Moravian Choir, and Women’s Chorus will present a Jazz Vespers Service on Sunday, February 18 at 4 p.m. at College Hill Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa..  Dave Bennett, college chaplain, will preside over by this unique new worship service using jazz selections as worship music. He specially designed the liturgy to include jazz choir anthems, congregational singing of hymns (arranged in a jazz style), and instrumental selections.

Featured in the Jazz Faculty Quartet are saxophonist Neil Wetzel, assistant professor; pianist Skip Wilkins artist/lecturer; drummer Gary Rissmiller, artist/lecturer; Al Gaumer on trumpet, and special guest bassist Greg Eicher.  The Moravian College Choir is under the direction of Dr. Paula Ring Zerkle, and the Women’s Chorus is conducted by Mr. Eduardo Azzati.

The choir will sing “This Little Light of Mine,” a familiar Gospel tune, “The Spirit Moves in Marvelous Ways” written by Thomas Lloyd, and Come Sunday written by jazz legend Duke Ellington. The jazz faculty will perform “A Child is Born” by Thad Jones, “Heaven” by Duke Ellington, “Song for My Father” by Horace Silver, “The Blessing” by Ornette Coleman, and “Confirmation” by Charlie Parker.

Wetzel has performed in other church services around the east coast area with the Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet, and comments that he believes “this the first time that a worship service of this kind has been offered in the Lehigh Valley area. Many jazz musicians have made forays into sacred jazz music; Duke Ellington wrote and performed several sacred selections that became known as the Ellington Sacred Concerts, featuring chorus and his jazz orchestra. Dave Brubeck also wrote sacred works including an oratorio titled A Light in the Wilderness.”

The concert is free and open to the public. A free will offering will be collected.  College Hill Moravian Church is located at 72 W. Laurel Street, Bethlehem, Pa. Moravian College undertakes this event in collaboration with College Hill Moravian Church.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.