Deanna offers practical workshops on how to use jazz in church services, basic improvisation, how to read from lead sheets, and the sacred music of Mary Lou Williams.
Deanna’s workshop opened our ears to new harmonies and our minds to new approaches to expressing our faith in song. Whether it is leading a familiar hymn with a jazz “spin” or performing a jazz solo, the possibilities presented are a breath of fresh air for many of us who are usually immersed in traditional forms of worship. The materials and suggested resources presented will assist us in further study and practical application of what we have learned in the program.
–Paul Elsener, Dean, Suffolk Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
I enjoyed singing along with Deanna’s arrangements like a congregation would sing during a service. I purchased her e-book and CD, Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns. The CD is very helpful for listening to various jazz styles, and her written scores are wonderful for me to use, not being trained in jazz improvisation. Deanna’s use of chords and chord progressions is amazing. Her presentation was true to the title of “How to Integrate Jazz in Worship.” Opening by playing HYFRYDOL and then taking it from there in her relaxed manner, always conscious of our needs and thoughts, made me feel comfortable the entire session. I just love her “flavor!” -Leonora Colletti
To witness what an accomplished jazz pianist can do to facilitate hymn-singing and make it more interesting was very inspirational. Though I could never hope to duplicate Deanna’s improvisational expertise, I feel I can experiment with the simple blues chord progression she taught us. -Judith Barber Abel
Deanna’s workshops have included:
How to Integrate Jazz in Worship (even if you aren’t a jazz musician)
2019 Suffolk County AGO, Long Island, NY
The Sacred Music of Mary Lou Williams
2018 University of Pittsburgh (click for audio)
Singing in the Streets: Raising Our Voices in Solidarity
2018 Hymn Society Conference, St. Louis, MO
Jazz Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs: Resources for the Church Musician,
2015 Hymn Society Conference
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
Hear an April 2016 performance-lecture at Christ Church in Oak Brook, IL HERE.
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.
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).