by Susan Hotchkiss

On April 6, we have a unique opportunity to hear a world-class jazz concert right in our church! Our former music director, Jeannie Gagné, will be joined by Stan Strickland, Bruce Gertz, and Alberto Netto, all globe-trotting Berklee jazz artists.

Anticipating our jazz concert, I’ve been thinking about Leonard Bernstein’s lectures to young people about music. He debunks the idea of “Classical Music” as static, long-haired, boring, or (worst yet) DEAD. He defines Classical Music as composed European music from about 1750 to 1820. Before that, historically, were Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. After Classical were the Romantic, 20th and 21st century periods.

Bernstein calls this large body of music “Exact,” because it is notated and preserved in history. We performers do our best to play Exact music just as it was written—to honor the composer and provide a bridge back through the centuries.

By contrast, Jazz—an American art form shared throughout the world—is sometimes written down, but it’s hard to notate or read its highly complex syncopation. Most Jazz is loosely notated and not meant to be “exact.” A performer will take a jazz tune and “riff” from it, creating something expansive and unique to the moment in which it is performed. A group of jazz players pass the solo spots around. The players improvise, and the audience applauds during the performance to appreciate the artistry of each soloist. Jazz is a very creative, complex, liberating art form!

On April 6, Jazz Music Night will start at 7:30 p.m., and we hope to pack the house for a rousing success! Tickets are available online through our website: Early-bird special is $20 online through March 20, then $25 online and $30 at the door.

Here’s to music, both exact and improvised!

Susan Hotchkiss, Director of Music