Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Jazz Vespers events throughout the Lower Mainland were cancelled for a period of time. However, St. Andrews-Wesley United Church was offering Jazz Vespers online once a month, and they have since resumed in-person vespers as well.
The events are usually free (or by donation), open to the public, of a fairly “light” religious nature, and highly recommended.
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Jazz Vespers Concerts and Services
A number of Lower Mainland churches of various denominations offer Jazz vespers services. They are usually held regularly in the late afternoon or early evening once a week, or once or twice a month, and they are part “church service” and part “Jazz concert”. There is sometimes a religious message, and usually a prayer, but mostly it’s just a nice concert in a church setting.
If you like Jazz, free things and spiritual settings, Jazz vespers are great events to check out. You don’t generally have to be religious to enjoy them (although you do need to like music).
Upcoming Jazz Vespers Concerts
As the name suggests, Jazz vespers typically involve some kind of Jazz. The music can vary quite a lot though, from quiet and fairly solemn tunes to lively Soul and Gospel, to big band Jazz, to Motown.
Due to COVID-19, most Jazz Vespers were put on pause in the last couple of years. However, St. Andrews-Wesley United Church was offering online Jazz Vespers for some time. Now, since earlier in 2022, in-person vespers are being offered once again at a couple of locations. See below for details about upcoming 2022 vespers.
May 29, 2022
- St. Andrews-Wesley United Church – at 4 pm in the sanctuary in the church at 1022 Nelson Street. Today features Melody Diachun and Friends.
June 5, 2022
- St. Andrews-Wesley United Church – at 4 pm in the church’s sanctuary at 1022 Nelson Street. Today features The Bob Liley Jazz Quintet.
Jazz Vespers Locations
Jazz vespers services usually take place at a number of churches around Metro Vancouver including at St. Andrew’s Wesley in Vancouver and Northwood United Church in Surrey.
Jazz Vespers at St. Andrew’s Wesley
Some of the most impressive and best known Jazz vespers services are the ones at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church at 1022 Nelson Street in downtown Vancouver. They take place in a beautiful cathedral-like church between 4:00 and 5:00 pm most Sundays throughout the year. The concerts feature some of the city’s finest Jazz musicians and admission is by donation.
Click St. Andrew’s Jazz Vespers for more information.
Jazz Vespers at Northwood United in Surrey
In normal years, Jazz Vespers also take place about twice a month at Northwood United Church which is located at 8855 156th Street in Surrey. The concerts there start at 2 o’clock and are usually followed by an optional time of tea and refreshments. Admission is by donation.
The Jazz Vespers services at Northwood United usually have a brief and very “light” spiritual message with a primary focus on the music (which might be Gospel or some other kind of Jazz that’s totally unrelated to the church and religion). Similar to the concerts at St. Andrew’s Wesley (or First Baptist) in Vancouver, some of the region’s top Jazz musicians sometimes participate.
See the Northwood United Church‘s website calendar for more information.
Other Jazz Vespers Venues
We at Vancouver’s Best Places have attended (and really enjoyed) the Jazz Vespers concerts at both St. Andrew’s Wesley and Northwood United. In normal years, there are other churches in the Lower Mainland that offer similar services including those listed below. In most cases the Jazz musicians featured are excellent and the extent of religious content varies by week and venue.
- St. Stephen’s Anglican – once a month services at 885 – 22nd Street in West Vancouver at 4 pm on a Sunday. (We’ve attended Jazz Vespers here too and loved it!) Starting in 2019 the services usually take place on the first Sunday of the month (whereas previously they were on the last Sunday).
- St. Andrew’s United Church – normally at 4 pm on the last Sunday of the month at 1044 St. George’s Avenue in North Vancouver (as opposed to St. Andrew’s Wesley in Vancouver).
- Brentwood Presbyterian Church – Jazz Evensong typically happens on Wednesdays at 8 pm at 1600 Delta Avenue in Burnaby.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and advice to help you make the most out of your Jazz Vespers experience.
TIP #1: Combine your attendance at a Jazz vespers event with a visit to other places in the area. Unless you live right close to the venue, go out for dinner afterwards, or go for a walk and explore the area beforehand.
TIP #2: If you’re broke and don’t have any money, you don’t have to pay anything. Go, enjoy the experience, don’t pay anything and don’t feel guilty. All are welcome.
TIP #3: If you can afford it, and the venue has a collection plate and provides an opportunity for donations, give generously if you can. You’ll pay for a comparable concert elsewhere, so why not support the folk who put on the event. Also, in some cases, the church provides its venue for free and donations go to the musicians (who likely trekked from across town to entertain you).
TIP #4: If you enjoy the experience, go again, try other Jazz vespers venues, and tell your friends.
Other articles that you might be interested in include the following:
- Festivals & Events Calendar
- Shows & Entertainment Calendar
- Vancouver Calendar of Events
- Entertainment in Vancouver
- Vancouver International Jazz Festival