EvenSong's album features the 2018 version of the quintet performing a variety of spiritually centring pop, jazz, and traditional songs that capture the group's uplifting original arrangements and spontaneous sound. Instrumental duets between Woods and McGowan in tracks 5 (Body and Soul) and 9 (Lament) were recorded live and offer moments of repose to pause and reflect.
EvenSong Ensemble was formed in Ottawa, Canada in 2016 to bridge the spontaneous and uplifting power found in the contemporary concert experience with jazz-gospel-pop-folk-blues styles and the progressive theology and inclusive communities found in many congregations, including the United Church of Canada. Embracing a focus on "Open Heart, Open Mind" and "Faith Like Jazz," we place the emphasis on the power of music, love, and community to empower us to overcome our global and personal challenges.
Designed to be engaging, inclusive, and spiritually focused, this project of positivity consists of a mix of popular music styles, secular and sacred, all with a jazz spirit and spontaneity. Our live performances often feature collaborations with like-minded creators of music, spoken-word, and other arts anywhere from nights clubs to churches to outdoor festivals to engage with an audience wherever we are on our spiritual journeys. Collaborations have included JustJamaal thePoet, Michael Curtis Hanna, Coco Love, Mark Alcorn, and Valeriy Nehovora.
Garnering national attention and supported by innovation grants by the Embracing the Spirit Learning Network, EvenSong lives its vision. They released their debut album—Songs from the Bridge—in digital and CD formats in 2019 (pre-release in 2018). The group consists of Leah Cogan, James McGowan, Peter Woods, JP Lapensee, and Jamie Holmes.
Leah Cogan is a singer and actor on both film and stage. As a graduate of Brown University and the Sheridan College Music Theatre program, she is a sought-after teacher, coach, and workshop facilitator. She was the winner of the 2009 national CBC Triple Sensation competition.
James McGowan is an award-winning Professor of Music at Carleton University. An active pianist of jazz, fusion, classical, and improvised musics, he is also a composer, arranger, music theorist, and conductor.
Peter Woods is the minister at MacKay United Church in Ottawa as well as a saxophonist with recording credits including with Brian Browne in jazz, blues, and rock'n'roll. He has spent years bridging the gap between concert halls, pubs, and churches.
JP Lapensee is an active bass player, teacher, and recording artist in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. He performs with The Chocolate Hot Pockets, Modasaurus, the HML Trio, and several other ensembles. He tours regularly with groups throughout Canada.
Jamie Holmes is an active drummer who performs with The Chocolate Hot Pockets, Thrust, Beats and Keys, Modasaurus, the HML Trio, and other groups. Since completing his undergrad with a Bachelors in Performance from Carleton University, Jamie has become a JUNO nominated drummer, and has toured and performed all over North America as well Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.
2018 & 2019:
- Festival of Faith at the 43rd tri-annual United Church of Canada General Council meeting, Oshawa Ontario.
- Katie Diamond's Jazz Cabaret, Music at Mill Road, Chelsea, Quebec
- MacKay United Church, Ottawa
- Orleans United Church, Ottawa
- Live on Elgin, Ottawa with guest Jamaal Jackson Rogers
- Trinity United Church, Ottawa
- Knox Presbyterian Jazz Vespers series, Ottawa
- Faith Like Jazz. Southminster United Church.
- St. Paul's-Eastern United Church. with Special Guest JustJamaal thePoet (Jamaal Jackson Rogers).
2017 & 2016:
- Stewart Park Festival, Perth Ontario (3 performances)
- Merrickville's Jazz Festival, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Merrickville Ontario
- Live on Elgin, Ottawa with guest Michael C. Hanna
- Ascension Jazz Concert Series, Ottawa
- MacKay United June Concert Series
- Glebe-St. James United Church, Ottawa
- MacKay United Church, Ottawa
- Carleton Memorial United Church, Ottawa
- Multifaith Housing Initiative Gala Fundraiser Event,