The Master’s Jazz Ensemble of Grace United Methodist Church will hold a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Sunday in the church sanctuary.
Donations go to the Family Promise organization to help homeless families in the area. Light refreshments will be served upstairs in the Fellowship Hall after the event.
The Master’s Jazz Ensemble director is Paul Rode, a church member who is the instrumental director at Penns Manor Area High School. Other members either attend Grace Church, are Indiana University of Pennsylvania students (or former students), or just happened to find the group and decided to stay. All enjoy sacred jazz music and a chance to play in a Christian setting.
The concert will last about an hour, with the group playing three “sets” of music. Some selections include music arranged by IUP graduate W. Roy Mitchell. Another Mitchell piece, “How Great Thou Art,” was commissioned by the group in honor of longtime church member and beloved music professor Olive Fornear, who passed away in 2010.
Several arrangements by Chris Sharpe (“How Sweet the Sound,” “Wade in the Water” and “Jericho”) are in the lineup, as well as other jazz favorites such as “Gospel John,” “Amber Waves” and “When the Saints Come Swingin’ In” (all arranged by different composers).
“Jericho” has become the group’s theme song, one that is played every year.
The ensemble was started in 2007 by church member Anthony Lechner. He recruited several other church members and a few friends, procured some music and directed the first performance July 15, 2007.
The group welcomes any musician who enjoys playing jazz music, can dedicate about an hour or two a week to practice (during the school year), and is able to come to performances.
If you think you may be interested, contact the traditional music director at Grace church, Tina St. Clair, at (724) 463-8535, ext. 25, or email tstclair@indiana grace.org.