Jazz Pastor de Loudoun: Chip Hammond explores the spiritual roots of American music | Exit Loudoun

By | November 17, 2022

Chip Hammond found music first. Then he discovered Jesus.

Hammond, a Presbyterian minister and Leesburg-based jazz drummer, explores the non secular roots of jazz in his story and track “Jazz: Spirituality in a Minor Key” on Friday, November 18.

“I am speaking in regards to the intertwining of the Christian religion with the formation of jazz and its reflection in jazz. The factors I make are emphasised and punctuated by the music,” Hammond mentioned.

Hammond grew up taking part in drums in rock bands in suburban New Jersey New York and in some unspecified time in the future thought music was his calling. However the discovery of Christianity in his late teenagers modified every thing and led to a distinct, however nonetheless wealthy, relationship with music.

“I believed [music] was what I used to be going to do for a dwelling,” he mentioned. “I did not develop up in a very non secular dwelling,” Hammond mentioned. “I had a form of non secular awakening in my first yr of college. I continued to make music but it surely grew to become much less vital as I continued my research”

Discovering Christianity whereas a scholar at William Paterson Faculty in New Jersey modified Hammond’s life, an awakening impressed by his brother’s journey of religion.

“His life simply modified drastically, and that form of caught my consideration. I used to be a reasonably outspoken atheist up till then,” Hammond mentioned.

Hammond grew to become closely concerned with church buildings in New Jersey. As his religion grew, he felt a name to proceed the ministry, impressed partly by the biblical E book of Amos, a shepherd turned prophet.

“Amos mentioned, ‘I wasn’t a preacher. I used to be a shepherd and a cutter of sycamore fig timber and God known as me and informed me to do that. I type of establish with Amos,” Hammond mentioned.

Hammond acquired his Grasp of Divinity diploma from Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. Shortly after graduating, he acquired a name from Bethel Presbyterian Church in Leesburg as a part of that congregation’s seek for a pastor. The church was a superb match, and Hammond and his household discovered a welcoming neighborhood in Loudoun. Hammond pastored at Bethel for practically 30 years and later earned his doctorate at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts whereas serving at Bethel.

Hammond mentioned his research in divinity, his work as a pastor, and elevating his 4 youngsters together with his spouse, Donna, left little time for music for just a few a long time.

“[Music] was placed on maintain for a number of years,” he mentioned. He mentioned Donna, who he describes as “an outstanding singer”, helped carry music again into his life. “It is one thing we began doing collectively,” he mentioned.

About 10 years in the past, Hammond found Loudoun’s jazz scene and began attending native jazz jams. Hammond shaped his band, On Simple Avenue, and when the band misplaced their singer just a few years in the past, Donna Hammond stepped in as vocalist.







Pastor Chip Hammond

Pastor Chip Hammond performs drums together with his jazz band, On Simple Avenue.


Hammond has been exploring the connections between jazz and spirituality for many years. He’s partly impressed by the work of one in every of his mentors, William Edgar, a Westminster professor and jazz pianist whose ebook “A Supreme Love” explores the hyperlinks between jazz and Christianity.

“What [Edgar] says that I believe it is actually true is that jazz has a sure unhappiness to it. You hear it in what they name blue notes: flat thirds, fifths and sevenths. However there’s additionally a defiant pleasure,” Hammond mentioned.

He created his live performance/seminar “Jazz: Spirituality in a Minor Key” combining a lecture on the non secular roots of jazz, with a concentrate on religion and the African-American neighborhood, with jazz and blues classics. Hammond is backed by his band, On Simple Avenue, for the present, with Donna Hammond on vocals, Ryan Benton on piano and guitar, and Chris Thompson on bass. The group focuses on jazz from the Nineteen Twenties via the Fifties, and the efficiency options acquainted tunes from Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Fat Waller, Bobby Timmons and different huge names.

Hammond just lately launched a jazz jam in Bethel on the third Thursday of each month. He plans to proceed exploring spirituality as a musician, discovering which means and connection in music.

“Jazz, as Wynton Marsalis mentioned, is absolutely life. In a method, he appears in any respect points of life. mentioned Hammond. “The blues are really a reminder that God is not only in our pleased instances. He’s additionally in our unhappy instances. The Bible is stuffed with blues.

“Jazz: Spirituality in a Minor Key” by Chip Hammond that includes On Simple Avenue will happen Friday, November 18 at 7 p.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 37018 Glendale St. in Purcellville. Admission is free and donations can be accepted. For extra particulars and to register prematurely, go to fb.com/stpetes.