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Mt. Olive Jazz Vespers Welcomes You

Janice Anderson

Janice Anderson has called Santa Monica home for four years. Janice’s life has been filled with the love of dance, song, music, and community for as long as she can remember.

She has raised her family in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica. Both of her children attended a local preschool. She found a great community there. So much so that she ended up singing in the Sunday choir, which helped grow her confidence while also allowing her to find her true voice.

Eighteen years ago, the clergy and church council encouraged Janice to start a Jazz Vespers Service for one service a month.

Historically, Vespers began as a prayer service in conjunction with the rising of the evening star. It was a Jewish tradition, and Christians continued this custom. Jazz Vespers began as a concept worship service and outreach ministry in New York City in the 1960s. Pastor John Gensel of St. Peter's Lutheran Church befriended the city’s musicians and designed a prayer and jazz service in the late afternoon or evening for those who couldn’t make it to Sunday morning services after playing late night gigs on Saturday night.

Second Sunday Jazz at Mount Olive Lutheran Church began in January 2005. For the past 18 years, these jazz concerts have brought Santa Monica neighbors together to enjoy world class jazz from a variety of styles, such as Latin, traditional, and modern. Artists have had the opportunity to perform in an intimate setting with great acoustics while being allowed to showcase their talents in a supportive environment.

There is a magical presence and quiet reverence created at these concerts. Attendees are encouraged to get to know someone new, which in turn has grown the Jazz Vespers community. For many of the concert attendees, it is their first and only time stepping into a church.

Mount Olive Lutheran Church Second Sunday Jazz Vespers Series takes place every second Sunday of the month from 5 p.m -6:30 p.m. at 1343 Ocean Park Blvd. (at 14th Street) in the sanctuary. There is ample free parking in the back lot, and the concert is a free-will offering only.

The next concert, taking place on Sunday, March 12 from 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., will feature the guitarist Thom Rotella Quartet.

Please visit to find out more about these popular concerts.

By Stacy McClendon

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