Jazz at Plymouth
"Jazz is like praying through my fingers.... It's healing for the soul. It should be played everywhere — in churches, nightclubs, everywhere."
Jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams
Jazz is a metaphor for much of what we value as a church – creativity, taking risks, being present to the moment, trusting the Spirit. We seek to infuse its spirit of spontaneity, freedom and improvisation into our theology, our worship, and our ministries.
Some of the Bay Area’s most gifted jazz and blues musicians are part of Plymouth Church. Come visit us during any of our special services – Christmas Eve, Mardi Gras or Easter – for a taste of our jazz-infused worship. Or join us for our Monday Night Jazz sessions most 2nd and 4th Mondays. Check our events page for dates!
Our Musicians and Choir
"The real innovators did their innovating by just being themselves." -Count Basie
Our music director, David Sturdevant, is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo and harmonica), composer, and founder/leader of the eclectic Medicine Ball Band, the Italian-American group Trio Davide, and the jazz trio Triage. He is a widely respected music educator, known for his strong commitment to the performing arts, his generous mentoring of younger performers, and his tireless support for diverse music communities – jazz, blues, R&B, New Orleans soul, and classic rock. Visit his website at www.medicineballband.com.
Our choir director, Michelle Jacques, is the Artistic Director and founder of CHELLE! and Friends, CHELLE'S JUKE JOINT a cappella ensemble, and the Michelle Jacques Jazz Quartet. She is a well-known music educator, working with the Oakland School for the Arts, San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music, and numerous other programs that help children develop a love for music. She has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, performing at the United Nations World Conference of Human Rights, the Gurten Music Festival, and the Montreux and Berne Jazz Festivals. She's also a Governor on the Board of the Recording Academy. Visit her website at www.chellenfriends.com.
Pianist and Cantor
Our pianist and cantor, David Miotke, earned his bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition, followed by a master’s degree in applied piano from Northwestern University. He served as lead singer and keyboardist with the rock group H. P. Lovecraft (1966-68) and has also worked as a studio singer and musician. He currently enjoys freelancing, teaching and creating new musical works, both live and recorded.
Bianca Thornton aka "Lady Bianca"
Bianca Thornton, better known to fans and followers as “Lady Bianca,” is a celebrated singer, pianist and composer rooted in blues, soul, and gospel. She has performed with such greats as Frank Zappa, Sly Stone, Van Morrison and Taj Mahal. In 2009, she was crowned the “New Queen of the Blues” by the Bay Area Blues Society. Visit her website at www.ladybianca.com.
Terrie Odabi is an accomplished singer of blues, R&B and jazz, described by one critic as “the most dynamic blues and soul woman to [emerge] in the Bay Area since Etta James…” Terrie was a 2017 Blues Music Award Nominee. Visit her website at http://artistecard.com/Terrie.
The Plymouth Choir
Open to all!
Our choir is welcoming and inclusive, like all the rest of our church. It includes people who sing on key and people who sing off-key, people with professional singing experience and people who struggle to carry a tune. No matter who you are or where you are in your singing career, you are welcome here! If you love to sing – whether or not you feel you’re a good singer – come sing with us!
The choir rehearses Wednesday evenings at 7 pm in the Fireside Room and every Sunday morning at 10:15 am in the church sanctuary.