The Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture

50th Anniversary Celebrations:

St. Peter’s Church
54TH St. at Lexington, NYC

Friday, November 11, 2011 7:30 PM

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
Mark Harvey, Director

Spirit Soundings

Jazz is one of the unique spiritual languages of the present age. The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will take soundings of the spirit across many styles of jazz, including iconic works by Duke Ellington. Music director Mark Harvey will offer original compositions including Blood on the Sun/New Moon Rising, a commemoration of 9/11 on the tenth anniversary of that tragic event, while his extended work No Walls evokes an exploratory and inclusive sensibility. Critics have praised Aardvark for its all-pervading honesty (Cadence), its exuberance, imagination, and sheer brio (Jazz Review), and its groundbreaking music with influences ranging from Charles Ives to Duke Ellington to John Cage and Cecil Taylor (Jazz Now). Aardvark performs stunning music that is, in turn, beautiful, poignant, and raucous (

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, now in its 39th season, has performed extensively in Boston and throughout the Northeast appearing in concert halls, festivals, churches, clubs and in collaborations with film, dance, chamber, choral, and symphonic ensembles. Venues have included the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival/New Music Series, the Lake George Jazz Festival, universities and colleges including Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Wesleyan, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Wellesley and Williams, as well as for national conferences of the American Academy of Religion and the Organization of American Kodaly Educators. Aardvark has released ten CD recordings to international critical acclaim on the Aardmuse, Leo, Leo Lab, and Nine Winds labels, and in 2000, won the Independent Music Award for best jazz recording. Jazz luminaries who have appeared with Aardvark include Geri Allen, Jaki Byard, Jay Clayton, Jimmy Giuffre, Sheila Jordan, and Vinny Golia. For more information, please visit

Mark Harvey is the founder and music director of Aardvark, a musician and minister, and an educator teaching jazz studies at MIT. He has composed over 120 works and has received national and regional commissions with premieres by Ran Blake, Joe Lovano, Herb Pomeroy, and Steve Turre. As a trumpeter, he has performed and recorded with George Russell (Blue Note) and Baird Hersey's Year of the Ear (Arista/Novus) and appeared with Gil Evans, Howard McGhee, Sam Rivers, and Claudio Roditi, among others, in venues such as FONT (The Festival of New Trumpet Music), the Village Gate, and the Knitting Factory (all in New York City), the National Gallery of Art (DC), the Chautauqua Institution, the Baja State Theater (Mexico),and the Berlin Jazz Festival (Germany). Harvey has lectured about jazz, American music, and the relationship of music, religion, and culture at universities, theological schools, and at national and international conferences. His essays have appeared in a variety of leading publications.

Reception following concert

Saturday, November 12, 2011

9:00 AM Registration, Coffee and…
9:30 AM Introduction to the day—Erling Hope and Orlanda Brugnola
9:45 AM Prologue/Performance – Emily Wells and Akim Funk Buddha
10:00 AM Keynote – Jacqueline Lewis—Painting Rainbows: A Progressive Conversation on(Re)Storying a Just Society
Gordon Dragt, chair

Historically, Progressives have been at the forefront of dismantling slavery, racism, sexism and homophobia, yet somehow, in this time, it is difficult to hear a powerful progressive voice calling for societal change. How can we use the arts to lead and ignite a social justice movement, in our congregations and across our nation? How can we as leaders change the story, using every tool we have at our disposal? This conversation is about how the arts can be a powerful "language" in which to do justice works.

10:30 AM Open mic
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Panel Conversation – What was important then? What is important now?
Patrick Quinn, chair

Six early members of SARCC have responded to the first question: William Conklin, Jane Daggett Dillenberger, Tom F. Driver, Mary Jean Irion, David L.Miller, and James Rosen.

Five more recent members will address the second question: Junko Chodos, David Jasper, Allen LeVines, Jacqueline Lewis, and Anik Pearson.

12.00 AM Open mic
12.30 PM Panel Conversation – Life at the Intersection: St. Peter’s Church
Ralph E. Peterson, chair

A panel consisting of John Cook, Easley Hamner, Barbara Beasley Murphy and Richard Vosko will reflect on the space where we are. They will discuss the vision, the project, the building which was a result and how it serves today.

You will be invited to make your own individual explorations of the building during lunch and also bring your questions and reflections to the members of the panel during the afternoon in individual conversations.

1:15 PM Lunch
2:30 PM Nessa Rapoport and Tobi Kahn-- Evoking the Numinous: Seeing and Naming in the Creation of Sacred Space
Charles Henderson ,chair

Painter-sculptor Tobi Kahn and writer Nessa Rapoport will speak about the Power of art to redeem the world, about the making of sacred spaces as an act of praise, and about the way the Hebrew Bible teaches us that beauty is essential to holiness. Join them in a conversation about pigment and poetry as imaginative vessels toward devotion.

3:30 PM Break
3:45 PM Ena Heller and Terrence Dempsey – Museums at the Intersection of Art and Religion
Orlanda Brugnola, chair

The founding directors, Dr. Ena Heller of The Museum of Biblical art in NYC and Fr. Terrence Dempsey, S.J., of The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art in St. Louis will talk about their museums and discuss such questions as: Do biblical religions still constitute a valid impetus and source of inspiration for the arts in the 21st century?  Conversely, has our contemporary artistic vocabulary crafted a new idiom for religious art – or can it? Can art and religion still inform, influence, and enrich one another today?  How can art museums, be they secular or religious, contribute to better understanding among diverse religious communities in today’s world?

4:45 PM Epilogue/Performance – Emily Wells and Akim Funk Buddha
5:00 PM Wine and cheese reception
6:00 PM Celebratory Dinner
William Conklin, master of ceremonies
Honoring SARCC Fellows
Featuring the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir

To register for the events please download, compile, and return the registration form, by clicking on either the word or pdf icons below

Webpage design courtesy CrossCurrents
Charles Henderson, Executive Director



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