First St. Andrew's has a long history of hosting musical events, both through their own long-running Friends of Music series, and through countless other musical organiziations and groups looking for the perfect venue. Wanting to find more ways to utilize the space and participate in the local community, was the inspiration for The Woodfield Jazz Series. It was felt that offering something that is for everyone, not just members, was a valuable way to connect with all Londoners.
It has been growing difficult in recent years for live jazz to find a home in London, particularly in the downtown core. Located in the historic Woodfield District of downtown London, First St. Andrew's offers many benefits as a live jazz venue: free parking, full accessibility, great acoustics for live jazz (in the lower hall known as Proudfoot Hall) and centrally located close to many nearby eating establishments. Many "Woodfielders" ,as the residents of the area are known, relocated to the community for it's proximity to so many entertainment venues, festivals and nightlife.
The committe members who initiated the series are musicians and music lovers themselves and feel that hosting a jazz series is a wonderful and postive way to bring people together. The unifying experience of sharing music together in an intimate setting is a rare treat nowadays, one that they want to nourish. And since musicians are seeking more real and positive ways to interact with audiences, the series is also committed to making it an equally positive experience for the performers by catering to their needs as artists so that they can focus on their main objective: making beautiful music.
Who could imagine a speakeasy in a church basement?
As published in The Londoner
Published on: February 12, 2019
Who could imagine a speakeasy in a church basement? A musician, or three or four. Especially if one of them is a member of the church.
And so was born a downtown pop-up jazz club called Woodfield Jazz at First-St. Andrew’s United Church....
First-St. Andrew's United Church has stood on the corner of Waterloo Street and Queens Avenue in London since 1868: that's just one short year after the Confederation of Canada.But it's seeds were planted even earlier, on November 11, 1832 when Rev. William Proudfoot delivered his first sermon. Proudfoot's diaries and biographers paint a picture of a radical, progressive thinker with a big dream. First St. Andrew's is his legacy.
First-St. Andrew's United Church, or "FSA" as community members know it, is an inclusive Christian family encouraging spiritual growth through worship, friendship, outreach, and learning. This busy community runs a variety of programs, from bible study to the men's brown-bag lunch to monthly movie nights to their many music programs, there is something for everyone. They are an intergenerational congregation where young and old can interact and get to know each other.
FSA is also one of the United Church's Affirming Ministries and with a tagline of "Where Liberal Theology Meets the Best of Tradition", FSA regularly provides special speakers and workshops designed to make people think about what they believe and why. Music has been a long-running important tradition at FSA: the adult and children's choirs, the FSA Strings, and bell choirs give reason to rejoice with both traditional and contemporary music.
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