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Libertyville church infusing worship with jazz

Dave Hibbard trumpet player College Lake County professor helped bring jazz vespers service St. Lawrence Episcopal Church Libertyville happening Sept.

Dave Hibbard, trumpet player and College of Lake County professor, helped bring a jazz vespers service to St. Lawrence Episcopal Church in Libertyville, happening Sept. 22. | Sun-Times files

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Updated: November 17, 2013 3:21AM

St. Lawrence Episcopal Church in Libertyville is marrying an unlikely duo: the sultry sounds of Chicago jazz with traditional worship.

A group known for its Chicago version of Dixieland jazz will take the stage 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22.

Unlike the New Orleans style, the Windy City All-Stars ensemble brings a more collective improvisation, Dave Hibbard said. Members of the group have performed alongside jazz greats like Count Basie and Louis Armstrong.

“It’s a very important link in the history of jazz,” he said.

The Lindenhurst man plays the trumpet and teaches at the College of Lake County. He decided to bring a jazz vespers service to St. Lawrence, sitting on Church Street in the heart of downtown Libertyville.

Although the church would like to attract new parishioners, the primary purpose is to make St. Lawrence even more of an established presence for the arts.

The church already allows theater groups like Liberty Town Production to rehearse in its space.

“We want to open our doors to the community,” said the Rev. Patti Snickenberger, the church’s rector. “We are hoping and will continue to support the arts, and this is one way we can do that.”

To reinforce a welcoming atmosphere, organizers will set up chairs — not pews.

“It’s hopefully very inclusive,” Snickenberger said.

Both Snickenberger and Hibbard stressed the free event is a rare opportunity for kids to dive into the genre.

“You can’t take the kids to the nightclub,” Hibbard said.

He plays in a new band — yet to be named — that may come to St. Lawrence next year (For now, they’re looking for a bass player).

“We got together to play music nobody else does,” Hibbard said.

Jazz vespers will continue on the third Sunday of each month until November. It will return after the holidays in 2014.

Hibbard’s contacts drew vocalist Robin Watson to the church’s first jazz vespers service in April.

“He’s somebody you really want to say ‘yes’ to,” Snickenberger said.

The rector said the service will alternate prayer and music throughout the evening.

“It’s very uplifting,” she said.

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