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Surrey church jazzes up Sunday services with return of Vespers in the Valley concerts

‘We had not opened at all with the jazz music during COVID, two and a half years’
Kim Greenwood Quartet performs at Northwood United Church in Surrey on Sunday, Oct. 16, during a Jazz Vespers in the Valley event. (Submitted photo: Linda Szentes)

After an extended break, the Jazz Vespers in the Valley concerts are back at one Surrey church.

Every couple of weeks, Fleetwood’s Northwood United sanctuary hosts Sunday-afternoon performances by some of the best jazz musicians around, at 8855 156 St.

Miles Black kicked off the 2022-23 season in September, with other hour-long concerts on the calendar from now until next June.

“Miles is one of our bigger names and is well known in Surrey, so it was a good crowd that day,” reported Rev. Scott Turnbrook, series host.

“We had not opened at all with the jazz music during COVID, two and a half years — March 2020 was our last one,” he added. “It’s nice to have these events back.”

Like similar events held elsewhere, Jazz Vespers in the Valley gatherings mix “the Spirit of Christian tradition” with “the depths of the jazz tradition and the spoken and written word.”

Turnbrook plans the series with the help of program co-ordinator Benjamin MacRae, a theology student intern, along with Rev. Dr. Ross Johnston and volunteer co-ordinator Linda Szentes.

MacRae is also a jazz musician eager to have some local high school players hit the Northwood stage, Turnbrook said.

“Typically, our services last for an hour, and in typical Northwood fashion, we offer a time of conversation over home-baked goods as served by our kitchen volunteers,” Turnbrook explained. The minimum suggested donation is $10, or pay-what-you can admission.

The new start time of 3:30 p.m. is set in an effort to create a little extra “fellowship time” for those who wish to mingle afterward, before heading off for dinner.

The Oct. 16 gathering featured vocalist Kim Greenwood with Rene Worst on bass, Nick Apivor on vibraphone and Buff Allen, drums.

Next up on the Jazz Vespers schedule is Trevor Whiteridge Band on Oct. 30, followed by Linda Szentes & Jazzlinks (Nov. 13) and Sister Jazz with Christian Morrison (Nov. 27). The final concert before Christmas, on Dec. 11, will feature Simon Millerd. In the new year, the Jan. 15 Grand Slam Jazz Band performance will feature MacRae with Kayden Gorden, Aaron Lee, Alvin Brendan, Michael Wagler and Tyler Murray.

Look for the full series calendar on and also on the church website,

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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