Jazz Cabaret Comes to St. John’s

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

St. John’s Episcopal Church, long known for its classical-music series, is now a place for jazz. The church’s second jazz-cabaret dinner, set for Friday, features singer LaVon Hardison and flutist Nancy Curtis plus what the church is calling “a veritable jazz festival” of well-respected players from Olympia and beyond.

Hardison sang at the church’s first cabaret in October, which sold out. “It was a lot of fun,” she said in a recent phone interview. “It’s very homey and very accessible and very intimate. And the food was very, very good.” Church volunteers prepare the dinner, which this time around will include barbecued ribs and chicken. There’ll be wine and dessert, too.

Hardison will perform with bassist Osama Afifi and pianist Eric Verlinde, both of Seattle. “It’s such an intimate setting that we’ll just be available for the moment,” Hardison said. “We may do a lot of improvisation and go off on some musical fancies.” Curtis, a mainstay of the Olympia jazz scene along with her late husband, Bert Wilson, will play with drummer Steven Bentley, pianist Craig Hoyer, bassist Stephen Luceno and Jim Pribbenow on alto and tenor sax. Of Curtis, Hardison said, “She’s pretty fabulous.”

As the first cabaret’s 110 seats were all filled, organizers plan to make space in the church’s reception room for 120 people this time around. “We’re probably going to do it twice a year,” said Lee Mohler, one of the organizers.

What: jazz cabaret dinner

Where: St. John’s Episcopal Church,
114 20th Ave. SE, Olympia

When: 7 p.m. Friday, June 16

How much: $40 suggested donation

Get tickets: 360-352-8527 | St. John’s Episcopal Church

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