Inauguration Concert

Praising God, and all that jazz
Feb. 10, 2012

“I’ve been blessed with an incredible gift, and it’s my calling to share my gift with the world,” says acclaimed jazz pianist, Cyrus Chestnut. And he did just that!

First Presbyterian Church, San Anselmo, the venue for the Feb. 10 pre-inaugural concert, was filled with head-bopping, finger snapping and foot-tapping music lovers of all ages. Some took to the aisles and danced as the music filled their souls.

The concert was the culmination of daylong activities that drew a capacity crowd from across the nation. And sitting stage right was President Jim McDonald and his wife, Rev. Dr. Dean McDonald, jazz lovers and huge fans of Cyrus Chestnut.

Chestnut, accompanied by a smooth-playing upright bassist and a prodigal 24-year old drummer, amazed the crowd with jazzy renditions of classic Christian hymns and timeless Gospel songs: All Creatures of Our God and King, Blessed Assurance, Oh How I Love Jesus and The Lord’s Prayer. Chestnut’s musical mélange also included contemporary tunes and jazz standards, offering a “little something for everyone.”

An unidentified man, volunteering nearby to help feed the homeless, said he was drawn to the music he heard in the wind. “My ear caught the music through an open window so I walked outside to see where this amazing music was coming from. I came inside the church and took it all in. It made my day complete.”

Among the many notable and award-winning albums recorded by Chestnut is one entitled Spirit, produced in 2009. This album is a powerful return to his church roots and continues to this day to get rave reviews.

Music is clearly a labor of love that Chestnut embraces with his heart and soul. He added, “If I can touch people with my music … if I can bring them happiness and joy, then I’ve done my job.”


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