WHAT WE DO
Theodicy Jazz Collective provides worship services, workshops, classes, and concerts. In worship, we strive to draw congregations into participatory practice. In workshops, we explore challenging and encouraging theological ideas through music and consider what they mean for us in the world. In concert, we seek to create space for communities to reflect and be restored. Below you can find a few examples of what we can offer.
“Jazz, Justice, and the Journey of Tradition” at Millsaps College’s Arts & Lecture Series — By weaving together performance and lecture, Theodicy explored the theological ramifications of jazz in liturgy for this Methodist-affiliated liberal arts community. In addition to hearing music as diverse as Charles Mingus’ “Better Get Hit in Your Soul” to an original Theodicy composition of the Magnificat to “When the Saints Go Marching In,” this lecture drew connections between Nina Simone and G.W.F. Hegel, between the civil rights movement and enlightenment Europe.
“Improvisation and the Spirit: Jazz in the Church” at Westcott House Anglican Theological College, Cambridge University — This workshop explored the theme of improvisation and how both jazz musicians and clergy need to depend on their community, listen for resonances, and trust in the structures of tradition to enable freedom and movement of the spirit in all elements of liturgy, from music to preaching to the reading of scripture. Yes, even the seminarians had to practice a little improv of their own.
“Freedom within Structure: Jazz as a Resource for Rest and Recovery” at Kanuga Conference Center’s Bowen Retirement Conference — In this seminar, Theodicy and and conference attendees used music and discussion to explore the metaphor of the jazz chart as a structure that enables freedom, but allows for silence, rest, and dependence on others in the ensemble. It is hard to say who benefited more from the encouragement to commit to Sabbath, the recently retired clergy, or the traveling band…
"Theodicy Jazz Collective: A Christmas Celebration" at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Worcester, MA led a very special Christmas worship service for the greater Worcester community. The band's jazz approach to the liturgy brought unique accessibility and engagement on the part of the parishioners, created excited and joy as they heard luscious renditions of well-known hymns and other liturgical music, and left the service acknowledging that "something special" and just happened. It was pure Theodicy Jazz Collective in a deeply spiritual setting, and it was enthusiastically received.
In addition to conferences, workshops, lectures and seminars, Theodicy is most frequently engaged in worship with communities in the US and abroad. We love Eucharist services, Evensong, Noonday prayer, Taize chant, Vespers, and ecumenical and interfaith services. If you don’t see the genre or format here, that doesn’t mean Theodicy doesn’t do it. It just means they haven’t had the opportunity yet. Contact them to see what you can create together!