In York, Pa., it was a musical night in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Chris Bacas takes his turn in the ‘duel’ with Tim Warfield in performing Duke Ellington’s/John Coltrane’s ‘C. Jam Blues/Mr. P.C.’ at the 14th Annual Jazz Vespers on Saturday. The two widely known and respected musicians met in their hometowns for this face off. The packed event at York’s First Presbyterian Church commemorated the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Also of interest: A post on last year’s vespers honoring Dr. King.‘
Every year, First Presbyterian holds Jazz Vespers honoring MLK Jr. And every year, the musical moment that brings people to their feet without fail is a duel of sorts between saxophonists Tim Warfield and Chris Bacas.
The pair face off in a friendly quest for who can reach the highest note or say the most profound jazz prayer or both.
But that’s not the only piece of the event that is memorable:
1. The mixed race audience is on the receiving end of a jazz concert by a mixed race band, still unusual enough in York County churches to note. Jeff Stabley led the group, that accompanied a black choir, the Bible Tabernacle Voices for Christ. Whatever happened the next morning – reportedly the most segregated time in America – this annual service at First Pres is a time of coming together.
2. This event kicked off a year-long series commemorating the 250th anniversary of First Presbyterian Church. (See schedule below.) The church reports that Presbyterians worshipped in homes in York as early at 1755, and the first church went up seven years later. The current Civil War-era building is the second built on this site.
3. The biography in the vespers’ program for band member Steve Meashey is unforgettable: “Words are pointless filled with half truth, as are bios. Just listen with your heart, mind and soul. It doesn’t matter where I’ve played or what and with whom I’ve played.”
“Set aside all opinions and just listen.”
Well, here’s one opinion that we won’t set aside: Dr. King’s memory was superbly honored at First Pres.
Also of interest
‘York, Pa., accepted what Washington, D.C., rejected’
First Prebyterian Church’s
special events schedule
Jan 7, 2012: Abendmusik: Jazz Vespers
Feb 2, 3, 4, 2012: St. Valentine’s Feaste
Feb 5, 2012: Annual Congregational Meeting
Feb 26, 2012: The Rev. John Galloway
Mar 11, 2012: Abendmusik: College of Wooster Tartan Band
Apr 8, 2012: Easter
Apr 22, 2012: Abendmusik: York Honors Choir
May 13, 2012: Dr. Blair Monie
May 13, 2012: York Street Fair/Mother’s Day
May 19, 2012: Abendmusik: Organ Plus – Rob Frazier
Jun ?, 2012: FPC Picnic
Jun 10, 2012: Mission Sunday: The Faders
Jun 24, 2012: Dr. Jey Deiffel
Jul 4, 2012: Program at James Smith’s gravesite with DAR
Jul 29, 2012: Dr. Bob Hoover
Aug 5, 2012: Dr. Bob Hoover
Sep 30, 2012: Abendmusik: PresbyBop
Sep 16, 2012: Dr. Fred Webb
Sep 25, 2012: Donegal Presbytery Meeting at FPC
Sep 30, 2012: Dr. Ian Torrence: President, Princeton Theological Seminary
Oct 12, 2012: Abendmusik: Eric Plutz, Organist, Princeton University
Oct 21, 2012: Homecoming
Nov 4, 2012: The Rev. Tom Sweet
Nov 9, 2012: Abendmusik: Rachmaninov Trio plus Flute
Dec 9, 2012: FPC Choir Christmas Cantata
Dec 24, 2012: Christmas Eve
*Photo courtesy of Charles Bacas