Religions and Spirituality

Jazz Vespers Third Season Kicks Off at Pleasantdale Church in West Orange on October 6


WEST ORANGE, NJ - Jazz Vespers returns for its third exciting season to Pleasantdale Church on Sunday, October 6.  Jazz Vespers combines the age-old tradition of evening meditation with the unique musical language of jazz.  It includes contemporary prose and poetry and truly outstanding music performed by an amazing group of internationally recognized jazz musicians.

About the event:

The October Jazz Vespers will be led by Todd Shumpert.  Vespers at Pleasantdale will welcome back band leader Dave Rimelis on guitar and violin, Ted Brancato on keyboard, Dave Longworth on drums, and will feature Pete McGuinness on trombone. 

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Jazz Vespers is held in the main building at Pleasantdale Church, 471 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange.  Admission is free; donations are gratefully accepted.  The building is fully accessible.

About the October musicians:

Dave Rimelis (bandleader and guitar, banjo, violin) – Dave Rimelis’ music has been performed by orchestras internationally, including the Boston Pops, National Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Western Australia Symphony, Minnesota Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.  He has been a featured artist with the Colorado Symphony, Eugene Oregon Symphony, Waco Texas Symphony, Concordia Orchestra, Plainfield New Jersey Symphony, The Cascade Festival of Music Orchestra, the New Sussex Symphony, the New Jersey Pops, the Oregon Festival of American Music Orchestra, and the Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra. 

Dave is artist-in-residence for the New Jersey State Council on The Arts and teaching artist for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  He is also Director of Music Education for the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children in Newark.  He served as composer-in-residence for the Concordia Orchestra in New York City from 1990 - 2002.  His music is featured in the film about violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg “Speaking in Strings”, PBS and New Jersey Network documentaries “Summer Camp”, “It’s Red It’s Edible It Bounces”, the Mo Willems cartoon “The Man Who Yelled,” and the feature film “She Devil.”

National Television appearances as featured musician include “Emeril Live” (improvising original music as “Dr Strings), CBS’s “The Guiding Light” (fiddler and country band leader), and NBC’s “Four Stories” (volunteer music teacher to HIV affected children).  As a guitarist and violinist, Dave has toured the United States, South America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and the Middle East.  His unique charanga violin style has been featured with many prominent Latin ensembles, including Jose Fajardo, Johnny Pacheco, Roberto Torres, Orchestra Broadway, and Africando.  Rimelis is the founder and leader of the band “Life,” which performs original world jazz.  The son of country western singer “Idaho Ed,” Dave was raised on American folk and popular music; he has won prizes in a number of regional fiddle contests.  Dave is also a music teacher at Liberty Middle School in West Orange.

Ted Brancato (Piano / Keyboards) – Originally hailing from Washington State, Ted has worked as a freelance musician, arranger, composer, musical director, professional transcriber and sound engineer.  He has recorded several albums and toured to Asia, South America and Europe with vocalist Jeanie Bryson.  For the past ten years, he has served as the Music Director/Arranger for Hunterdon Hills Playhouse.  In 2009, he opened a recording studio, Mahogany Studio, with the goal of capturing the full warmth and depth of acoustic instruments and voices.  Since opening, the studio has catered to folk, country, classical and jazz artists.  The studio’s first full album, completed in September 2010, was Mark Pearson’s “Following the Light.”  He is currently working on another album project for vocalist Mari Green.  Both projects have utilized Ted’s many talents as owner and engineer.  He is also in the process of mixing an album of his own jazz compositions featuring bassist Ron Carter.  The album is expected to be released in the Spring of 2013.

David Longworth (Drums/Percussion) - From CBGB to Carnegie Hall, David Longworth brings over 30 years of performing experience to our Jazz Vespers.  He has toured internationally with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Ben E. King, and Phoebe Snow.  He has performed with Bruce Springsteen, Jon BonJovi, Michael McDonald, and countless R&B acts.  He has worked Off-Broadway in 'Lone Star Love', featuring the Tony award winning "Red Clay Ramblers', 'Almost Heaven', the John Denver musical, and more recently, 'Godspell' at Bergen Community College.  He has been a member of LaBamba and the Hubcaps for over 25 years, featuring the horn players from the Conan O'Brien Show.

Pete McGuinness (Trombone) - Originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, Pete has been an active New York City-based jazz musician since 1987. His creativity is expressed in many capacities…well-established NYC-based jazz trombonist, GRAMMY-nominated composer/arranger, award-winning jazz vocalist, and long time jazz educator.

After his many years of studies, starting back as a teenager in the renowned Hall High School jazz program (West Hartford, CT),  going on to college studies at New England Conservatory and University of Miami (bachelor of music, 1986), and Manhattan School of Music (master of music, 1987), Pete quickly became involved in the NYC jazz scene. His credits as a jazz trombonist over the years are many, including performances with such jazz artists as Maria Schneider, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Heath, The Woody Herman Orchestra (dir. Frank Tibieri), Mike Holober’s “Gotham Jazz Orchestra”, Dave Pietro, the nonets of Mike Kaplan and Jim Cifelli, Manny O’Quendo’s “Libre” and most recently as a member of the new “Smoke Big Band” directed by trumpeter/composer Bill Mobley (performing every Monday night at the NYC jazz club “Smoke”). Pete appears as a sideman on over 25 jazz CDs, including the GRAMMY-winning CD by Maria Schneider “Concert In The Garden” He has performed in the pits of many Broadway shows throughout the years. Pete is also featured as a trombonist on 4 CDs he has either lead or co-lead throughout the years.

As a jazz composer-arranger, Pete has been equally active. A former student of Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam (the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop), Pete has gone on to write music for his own projects as well as being commissioned to write for many well-known jazz artists and schools. Some of these include Dave Liebman, the University Of Miami (Florida), The Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Charles McPherson and the New Jersey City University jazz ensemble, as well as receiving grants from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts.

He writes for his own big band, “The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra.”  The group has performed live at such NYC clubs as The Blue Note, The Jazz Gallery, and Iridium. Its debut CD “First Flight” was released nation-wide in 2007 on Summit records to much critical acclaim and radio play. Pete’s arrangement of “Smile” from the CD was officially nominated in 2008 for a GRAMMY award. Many of his charts are available for purchase through Kendor Music ( and Otter Music distributors, as well as directly from Pete. His music is performed by both college and professional big bands across the country, as well as in Europe.

In his late 20’s, Pete added jazz singing to his areas of creativity. Having been inspired by the great sound and scat singing styles of Chet Baker and others, Pete has gone on to forge his own jazz vocal concept, including a very “horn-like” ability to scat sing and improvise. Some of his achievements in this area include being chosen for the semi-finals of the 1994 Thelonious Monk Vocalist Competition, being the featured singer with Jimmy Heath’s Big Band (S.S. Norway Jazz Cruise). Most recently, Pete was chosen the winner of the 2010 Jazzmobile vocal competition in New York City. He has also been a member of jazz vocal groups, including ‘The Manhattan Vocal Project” and “The Faux Freshmen” (which includes former members of “The Four Freshman”).

Finally, Pete is an active jazz educator. He was a member of the jazz studies faculty at New Jersey City University (Jersey City, NJ) for 17 years. In 2011, Pete was named Assistant Professor of Jazz Arranging at William Paterson University where he currently teaches full-time. He has given concerts and clinics with jazz students throughout the US and abroad, including his annual week-long residence every July at the Poysdorf Summer Jazz Workshop in Poysdorf, Austria (teaching vocalists and trombonists alike).  He is a frequent guest conductor of jazz ensembles as well, including for various NYC area all-county high school groups and the New York State Summer Music Festival in Oneonta, NY.  Pete is a Conn-Selmer company affiliated clinician, and is available for jazz clinics. 



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