It is interesting to watch as cars arrive to what seemed like designated parking spaces; several persons walk across the street, and enter a building through a back door. There is a front door, where you are greeted and each handed a program. There is going to be jazz in this building, a pastor is going to preside, and printed on the program, “our well received reception with wine & cheese will follow the service”. What? And everything is free.
The location is 5513 York Road, Baltimore, MD. 21212. This is the Evangelical Lutheran Church. I know of the infinite love that Lutherans have for Jazz, but how will it be handled in a church setting? It is a vesper, a late afternoon ceremony or service to the Most High. This practice dates back to the days of the Gregorian chant. Johan Sebastian Bach wrote many of his cantatas, to be sung as evening prayers, or vespers. King David of Israel was a harpist. But how can Jazz get in this holy realm? I was curious.
The opening music was from Rodgers and Hart: Blue Moon, done with solemnness, followed with hymns, and Reverend Dr. David W. Eisenhuth’s discussion of what happens to the dead, “heaven, hell or purgatory”. Then there was this heartfelt story of his church helping a young man from Africa living in Baltimore, waiting for the arrival of his wife and six children. We were asked to help: with a gift of a coat, a spatula, shoes. How inspiring!
My accompanying video and pictures reveal what can be experienced, every fourth Wednesday on York Road, having jazz, with evening prayers.