Three weeks after it was postponed because of still another snowstorm, Jazz Sunday was finally celebrated on March 8 with Mardi-Gras style music throughout the 10 a.m. service and the fellowship of a pancake brunch afterward.
It was a celebratory morning worth waiting for.
Stephen Bither once again was masterful at pulling together a group of his jazz-savvy friends, gracing the service with spirit-lifting favorites from “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” to “Amazing Grace.”
For the musicians, the gathering also was a time to reflect on the life of one of their own. Roger Snow, who was a regular at many Jazz Sundays with his trombone, passed away last Sunday at age 90.
As a tribute to Roger, his trombone and trademark hat were placed next to an empty chair in front of the altar for this year’s Jazz Sunday.
Roger Snow during the 2011 Jazz Sunday
This year’s participants included Peter Lord on soprano saxophone, Bill Thurston on drums, Peter Dunphy on banjo, Tom Wilbur on tuba, Eric Anderson on trombone, Barry Daniels on clarinet and, of course, Stephen Bither on piano.
The church choir once again was a complementary addition for the jazz musicians, including Choir Director Faith York on her ukulele and Gail Parker on the organ.
A new addition to this year’s repertoire of jazz was our church’s own Tyler Rodenberger, who performed a stirring rendition of “Clarinet Blues” on the organ.
Another addition to this year’s Jazz service was Stephen Bither leading the Children’s Story, explaining to children young and old that Jesus wants us to be friends with each other and that we should treasure those friendships throughout our lives. Following his advice, Stephen led the jazz musicians, choir and congregation in singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
This year’s Jazz Sunday was even more festive than usual — even though it fell on the Third Sunday of Lent rather than the Sunday before Ash Wednesday — largely because of the colorful decorating done throughout the church by Betty-Jane Shreve and the handing out of Mardi-Gras beads to everyone as they entered the sanctuary.
New church member Clint Lawrence led a kitchen crew in the preparation of pancakes and sausage for the brunch following the service. It was a busy weekend for Clint in the kitchen — he also washed dishes during Saturday night’s Bean Supper. Thank you to everyone for their many contributions.
Clint Lawrence in the kitchen
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