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Duke Ellington: Music from the Sacred Concerts

5 Apr, 2022

featuring the Clark Tracey Orchestra - a Jazz Eucharist at York Minster

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A spectacular Jazz Eucharist featuring music from Duke Ellington’s ‘Sacred Concerts’ will take place at York Minster on Wednesday 29th June at 5.30pm. Hosted jointly by York Minster and St Peter’s School, York, the service will mark St Peter’s Day, the Patronal festival of both the cathedral and the school.  The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell will preach at the service.

Described by Ellington himself as ‘the most important thing I have ever done’, the ‘Sacred Concerts’ are a unique blend of jazz and choral classical music, with elements of gospel and the blues. Debuted in 1965 and rarely performed since, the Sacred Concerts feature big band, mixed choir and soloists who combine to produce powerful and evocative melodies celebrating spirituality and the Christian faith.  St Peter’s School staged a performance of the Sacred Concerts in 2012.

In the magnificent setting of York Minster’s medieval Nave, the service will feature, the Clark Tracey Orchestra, the Choir of York Minster, St Peter’s School Choir & Choral Society, soloists Teuta Koco and Mark Williams, and tap dancer Junior Laniyan.

Commenting on the service, The Revd Canon Victoria Johnson, Precentor at York Minster said:  “This is an amazing opportunity to hear the sacred music of Duke Ellington in the context of Christian worship in one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world. Ellington’s music is powerful and uplifting and is an incredibly fitting way to celebrate the new and vibrant partnership between York Minster and St Peter’s School, York, bringing together hundreds of musicians to lead our prayers and praises.

“This service, is for worshippers, jazz lovers, choral music fans, and anyone who enjoys great music and its potential to lift our spirits heavenward.”

Jeremy Walker, Head Teacher, St Peter’s School, York, said:  “I am very excited about the prospect of the Ellington Mass in York Minster.  It promises to be a wonderful service, full of joy and a perfect way to mark St Peter’s Day and the bond between School and Minster.”

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