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updated: 6/11/2012 6:53 PM

Jazz Psalms' benefit features local jazz greats June 17

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David Bakker

A unique musical and worship experience will take place on June 17 (Father's Day) at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest: "Andy Tecson's Jazz Psalms: 'I will praise God still!'" This performance celebrates the 30th anniversary of the musical work, which was first performed in 1982 at Valparaiso University. Performing will be Jazz Psalms composer and saxophonist, Andy Tecson; Bobby Lewis, trumpeter and former music director for vocalist Peggy Lee; Bobby Schiff, pianist; and many other fine musicians and singers. A freewill offering will benefit Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) and Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS). Admission to the event is free.

"Jazz is America's gift to the world in terms of a new musical form," says Tecson, event organizer and bandleader. "I'm excited about composing and performing jazz, combining it with biblical texts and presenting the result with incredible, world-class musicians." He adds, "My wife, Nancy Hagen, and I are excited to sponsor a musical celebration that will benefit the work of LCFS and LSSI." (For more on Tecson and Jazz Psalms, visit

"The extraordinary texts of the Psalms are filled with the joys and sorrows of life, and they resolutely proclaim God's presence in our lives," Tecson says. Jazz Psalms includes a creation Psalm (Psalm 104), a Psalm of both lament and triumph (Psalm 42) and Psalms of celebration.

The service will also feature a sermon by renowned theologian and scholar, The Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, who originally commissioned the musical work. Author of more than 50 books, Marty, a Lutheran pastor, is The Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he taught for 35 years, primarily in the Divinity School, where the Martin Marty Center for advanced studies has since been founded. Described as a "public intellectual," Marty is a brilliant interpreter of how history, culture and faith converge.

Jazz Psalms: "I will praise God still!" will take place on Sunday, June 17, at 4:00 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 W. Division Street in River Forest. A reception will immediately follow the service. For more information on Jazz Psalms, visit or call 708/488-5558. Or visit or contact 847/635-4617. Jazz Psalms is co-sponsored by Andy Tecson, LCFS, LSSI and the West Cook -- Chicago Chapter of Thrivent Financial.

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Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS) is a non-profit social ministry organization that annually serves more than 35,000 individuals and has been caring for children, families and individuals for more than 130 years with programs such as foster care, adoption, counseling, youth residential treatment and a variety of community services, including food and clothing distribution and housing advocacy. For more information on LCFS' other programs and services, visit or call 800-363-LFCS.

Founded in 1867, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is a statewide, not-for-profit social service agency of the three Illinois synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). LSSI annually serves more than 100,000 people through an array of services at approximately 85 sites across Illinois. LSSI's services include foster care, adoption, pregnancy counseling, Head Start, services for at-risk families, residential services for youth, counseling, mental health, substance abuse treatment, residential programs for adults with developmental disabilities, housing and services for older adults and individuals with disabilities, nursing care and rehabilitation, and programs for prisoners and their families. For more information, visit or its Facebook page.