East Flatbush church gets more than the blues

Patrons at the basket ball court-turned-auditorium at Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church (VPUMC) in East Flatbush, Brooklyn got more than the blues on Saturday night at the staging of the seventh annual production, “Evening in Blue.”

Hundreds packed the auditorium for a riveting evening of the blues, classics and contemporary genres, organized by the church’s Music and Arts Committee, headed by music director Belizean Raymond Trapp.

The sell-out event featured UPUMC’s band, known as UPUMC Blue, which included a large number of local and guest jazz and classical artists, such as Kensvil Duchatellier; Robbyn Tongue; Nikita Hill; Cindy Rainne; Lauren Hospedales; Shardenay Palmer; Rodney Rosemand; and Joseph Roberts, VPUMC’s assistant music director.

The almost two-hour production featured hits from renowned jazz artists, such as Duke Ellington, Bob Russell, Cab Calloway, Dave Brubeck, Milton Delugg, Willie Stein, Jeff Hest, Vernon Duke, Al Frisch Sid Wayne, Thelonious Monk, Matty Malneck, John Mercer, Horace Silver and Memphis Slim.

It also paid salutes to Benny Goodman, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, with Stompin’ at the Savoy; Don’t be that Way; Sing, Sing; Hit the Road Jack; I got a Woman; Living for the City; and Do I Do.

“We at Venderveer, we’re very blessed with a lot of people who are filled with a lot of gifts,” said Trapp, who served as MC, in introducing Hill.

Hill, a member of IMAGE, the VPUMC Sanctuary Choir and Hunter College Chamber Singers, sang Delugg and Stein’s “Orange Colored Sky.”

The committee said the production, which premiers the annual concert music series, was the “outcome of the mission” of the church’s music ministry to “promote unity amongst our diverse and culturally-rich community, utilizing the universal language of music.”

The first production of “Evening in Blue” was launched in Sept. 19, 2008 through Trapp’s vision, the committee said.

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