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Aggie Music Project Preforms 'Jazz Vespers' At St. John's Episcopal Church

Matilyn Mortensen

The wooden pews in the sanctuary of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Logan fill with people on Sunday for the evening prayer service.

Although these services are hosted monthly during the school year, this program, Jazz Vespers, features less traditional music than the other services.

Stephen Sturgeon is an Episcopal priest and the vicar at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“There is a different feel in a sense, a little more relaxed as it were. And the energy is a little bit different to it. And the band, I mean, they just do a fantastic job, so that’s really what is driving the energy,” Sturgeon said.

As the name suggests, Jazz Vespers is worship service featuring jazz music. This annual program is put on by the Aggie Music Project, a group of Utah State University music faculty members.

Sturgeon said not only does the jazz music affect the feel of the service, the type of music and partnership with the university draws people who may not usually attend.

Jon Gudmunsen is a music professor at Utah State University and part of the Aggie Music Project.

“I love this setting. I’ve always loved this church. I love how it feels. I love how it sounds. It’s just a gorgeous space to play in. It’s inspiring and uplifting in that way with the beautiful windows, the stained glass. A very traditional looking ‘ye olde’ church,” Gudmunsen said.

Gudmunsen said the words in the Jazz Vespers service are phrases that have been used by people throughout the ages to connect with God. Because of this, he says the words move the performers and hopefully the audience more deeply than he thinks contemporary music would.