Deanna has received widespread renown for her work in combining jazz and liturgy. Whether you’re curious about what a jazz church service can look and sound like, need sheet music resources, or want to commission Deanna to compose a new work for your community, you’re in the right place.
MAKES THE HEART TO SING: JAZZ HYMNS
Preview and pre-order Deanna’s upcoming jazz hymns recording, Makes the Heart to Sing! Until June 15, you can hear clips from four tracks and place a pre-order for the 14-track jazz hymns recording for $8 HERE at BANDCAMP. For $20, you can pre-order the recording and a corresponding sheet music e-book including 13 fully notated piano parts and lead sheets (see a sample HERE, or view an excerpt from Deanna’s 2009 songbook, From This Place, HERE, for a sense of what to expect).
JAZZ WORSHIP SERVICES
Wondering what a jazz service can look like? Check out the video below from a jazz vespers at Dallas UMC with Deanna’s trio.
Wondering what jazz worship bulletins can look like? Click here to view past bulletins/programs.
“I have loved working with Deanna over the years for chapel worship here at Roberts Wesleyan College. Her skill and talent amazes; her sensitivity to God’s Spirit in the liturgy and music unmistakable. Every time she is among us you can sense that we have made space and sacred time to reflect and listen to God’s voice.” -Jonathan Bratt, chaplain at Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY
“Deanna’s music has come along when we as church musicians need it the most. Her language is unique and fresh, and her melodies are singable by amateur and professional alike.” -Paul Klemme, music director, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Salem, OR
To hear/see excerpts, and to purchase any of Deanna’s sacred pieces, visit the online sheet music store. All pieces are available as individual pdfs; the From This Place songbook is also available as a spiral-bound book. Most files include a lead sheet, notated piano score, and bulletin insert (if the piece is for congregational singing).
Deanna’s music is well-written and harmonically sophisticated and is engaging to choirs and congregations without being excessively difficult. She makes it easy to use what she’s written, which is key to introducing new material. It has been a real gift to have our congregation sing and appreciate sacred jazz regularly.
– Paul Vasile, executive director, Music That Makes Community, and former music director, Park Avenue Christian Church, New York, NY
Looking for a new Psalm setting for soprano and oboe? A piece for your classical choir? Your gospel choir? A new jazz hymn arrangement? Contact Deanna for info on how to commission a new work- and see the video below for one example of a commissioned piece.
Deanna is an award-winning choral composer: in 2016, she won the Illinois ACDA Choral Composition Contest for her SSAA piece, “Where Shadow Chases Light” and is a recipient of the Lutheran Arts sponsored Martin Luther Hymn Prize. She has also been commissioned by many groups, including the Park Avenue Christian Church Sanctuary Choir, Concentus, and the Church of the Mountain Miracle Choir. In 2010, she led 6000 participants in singing her setting of Jorge Lockward’s text, “Faith, Hope, Love” as the commissioned theme song for the United Methodist Women’s Assembly in St. Louis.
FROM THIS PLACE (sacred jazz recording)
Deanna Witkowski has combined The Spirituality of the Soul and Heart with The Spirituality of Jazz. These performances are, above all, prayerful. They are also properly liturgical and and should be sung and played in churches. Ms. Witkowski continues the work of Mary Lou Williams…this music is ‘healing to the Soul’.
-the late Rev. Peter F. O’Brien, SJ, Executive Director of The Mary Lou Williams Foundation
Hear audio from an April 2016 talk/performance at Christ Church in Oak Brook, IL HERE.
Deanna is a frequent presenter on jazz and spirituality. Lectures and workshops have included:
Jazz Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs: Resources for the Church Musician
2015 Hymn Society Conference, New Orleans
Jazz and Proverb: A Musical Portrait of Wisdom in the Work of Four Female Artists (Mary Lou Williams, Mahalia Jackson, Denise Levertov, Julian of Norwich)
2013 International Thomas Merton Society Meeting
Moving with the Spirit: The Sacred Art of Jazz and Beyond Words: Improvisation as Prayer
2011-12 Shannon Lecture Series in Catholic Studies at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY
Deanna has also given workshops at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Houghton College, and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Contact Deanna for info on how to bring her to your school, church, or conference.
IN PRINT AND ON THE AIR
Listen to an interview with Deanna on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday
Hear Deanna discuss the history of sacred jazz on Interfaith Voices (note: interview begins at 39:20).
Watch a clip from Deanna’s television interview on EWTN’s Faith and Culture