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Bucks County Choral Society Explores New Directions in Sacred Choral Jazz

Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Choir type: Community Choirs
Voicing: Mixed
The Bucks County Choral Society, under the direction of Thomas Lloyd, begins its thirty-ninth season on October 22 & 23 with “New Directions in Sacred Choral Jazz”, two concerts featuring the Choral Society, vocalists DeVonne Gardner, Lourin Plant, and Leslie Johnson, and a jazz quintet led by Philadelphian Jay Fluellen. Performances will be given at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale on Saturday, October 22, at 8:00 p.m. and at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on Sunday, October 23 at 4:00 p.m.
Newly-commissioned compositions from Fluellen (Praise – A Sacred Jazz Te Deum) and from New York-based sacred/gospel composer Carl MaltsBy (Of Journeys and Refuge) will be highlighted, as well as a repeat performance of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Down the Road, also commissioned by BCCS and first performed in June, 2011. The three commissioned works are the first pieces produced as a result of the developmental collaboration between BCCS and the Mike & Karen Noland Commission Fund.
The programs are rounded out with spirituals arranged by noted area composers Rollo Dilworth and Clayton White, and “Come Sunday”, previously performed by BCCS as part of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts.
Jay Fluellen is a Philadelphia-born musician known throughout the area as a composer, organist/choir director, jazz pianist, classical accompanist, theory professor, singer, and educator. Dr. Fluellen is the Chairman, Co-Director and Minister of Music at the Africa Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia.
Well-known to BCCS audiences, Philadelphia soprano DeVonne Gardner ‘s career spans several decades, and includes an early stint singing and touring with Ellington and his band.  Soprano Leslie Johnson is another BCCS favorite and most recently appeared with the Choral Society for the premiere of Gordon’s Down the Road in June. Dr. Lourin Plant is an outstanding soloist and an Assistant Professor of Voice at Rowan University. He will be making his first appearance with BCCS.
 “We’re setting off into new territory as we explore anew the connections between sacred music and jazz,” says Lloyd.  “Between tremendous singers, swinging jazz, and exciting world premiere performances, these concerts will be unforgettable.”
Recognized throughout the region as Bucks County’s best large choral ensemble, the Bucks County Choral Society is an auditioned choir of one hundred voices, led by an outstanding artistic director. Singers come from all walks of life and with a range of musical skills, united in a dedication to providing a high quality choral music experience for the community.
To purchase tickets for New Directions in Sacred Choral Jazz concerts, or for more information about BCCS, please contact the Bucks County Choral Society at 215.598.6142, or online at
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