DEANNA’S SACRED JAZZ: SERVICES, CONCERTS, WORKSHOPS, COMMISSIONS
“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
Deanna has received widespread renown for her work in combining jazz and liturgy (click here for a PDF of testimonials and a list of churches/conferences where Deanna has presented her sacred music). Whether you’re curious about what a jazz church service can look and sound like, want to find sheet music resources for your community, or want to commission Deanna to compose a new work for your choir or congregation, you’re in the right place.
JAZZ WORSHIP SERVICES
Wondering what a jazz service can look like? Check out this video from a jazz vespers at Dallas UMC to see and hear one great example.
Wondering what 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 often performs in concert settings (from solo to quartet), either as a stand-alone event or in conjunction with a worship service. In January 2015, her trio played to a sold-out crowd at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Hendersonville, NC! Contact Deanna for info.
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
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, 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.
Deanna has written commissioned pieces for 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.
Hear audio from an April 2016 talk/performance at Christ Church Oak Brook 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