Churches of Oxford Join Together to Host Jazz Concert in Honor of Three Local Women

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Cyrus Chestnut, an acclaimed jazz pianist, enchanted members of the Oxford faith community with his amazing talent.  On Sunday afternoon March 5 the Church of the Holy Trinity, Oxford Methodist Church and Waters UMC Church, came together to honor three exceptional residents with a jazz concert held at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall..  Honored were Beth Shucker and Marguerite Owen remembered for their commitment to community cohesiveness and supporting relationships between the different churches of Oxford with financial support and endless hard work.  Additionally, Mrs. Tissier Moaney, the current music director at Waters UMC, continues to pull together community choirs, ecumenical services and community events.  It is women such as these that make the Oxford community what it is today.

The Reverend Kevin Cross enthusiastically introduced Cyrus Chestnut as an acclaimed jazz pianist born in Baltimore. Commenting on what a gift it was to have him here for such an important occasion. gift it was Cyrus’s home was filled with the sounds of the gospel music that his church-going parents played in their home, along with jazz records by artists such as Thelonius Monk and Jimmy Smith. Chestnut has said that the roots of his love of music began there, and to this day, Chestnut’s ties to the gospel church remain constant. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Chestnut went on to work with jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks from 1986-88, and trumpeter Terrence Blanchard and saxophonist Donald Harrison from 1988-90, before joining jazz legend Wynton Marsalis in 1991. In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) for All Things Considered, Chestnut remarked, “If I can send one-person home after a performance feeling better than when they arrived, then I’ve done my job, and I sleep good at night.” Chestnut continually tours with his trio, playing live at jazz festivals around the world as well as clubs and concert halls. His leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call for the piano chair in many big bands including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band Mr. Chestnut graciously accommodated the churches of Oxford into his schedule. Once he heard about the community’s effort to work together for the support of Oxford, he was happy to offer his talents to the celebration.  As Cora Bruner, Choir Director at The Church of the Holy Trinity and one of the organizers commented, “Mr. Chestnut was particularly interested in supporting a community committed to caring and respecting all its members. Living his faith is paramount in Cyrus’ life; the mission of the Oxford churches and community.  A natural pairing!”

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