Jazz Drummer Winard Harper to Kick off Cathedral Arts Live Concert Series in Jersey City

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Cathedral Arts Live Winard Harper Grace Church Van Vorst Jersey City 2
Jazz drummer Winard Harper will perform in Jersey City on October 18. Photo courtesy Winard Harper.

Jazz drummer and band leader Winard Harper will perform at Jersey City’s 172-year-old Grace Church Van Vorst on October 18 to kick off the monthly Cathedral Arts Live concert series.

Harper has gained a devoted following in Jersey City, where he runs the “Meet the Artist” Series at Moore’s Lounge each Sunday. He’s a virtuoso on the drum set and the balafon — the West African equivalent of the marimba — and has performed around the world, but especially in the New York area.


His performance in October is described as “jazz propelled by a dynamic sense of Swing — from African roots to today.”

Grace Church Van Vorst launched Cathedral Arts Live five years ago as an extension of the already successful Cathedral Arts Festival, founded in 1989. The modern version is meant to “create a transcendent musical experience and strengthen our community by welcoming and celebrating a diverse group of artists, performers and audiences in our beautiful space,” according to a release.


Cathedral Arts Live Winard Harper Grace Church Van Vorst Jersey City
Winard Harper is a virtuoso on the drum set and the balafon — the West African equivalent of the marimba — and has performed around the world. In mid-October, he’ll perform at Grace Church Van Vorst. Photo courtesy Winard Harper.

The church itself was built in 1847 and is the oldest Episcopal church in Jersey City. Besides still serving a congregation, it also offers a breakfast program to the hungry and a weekday program for seniors.

The other upcoming monthly concerts will include country/folk singer Abbie Gardner on November 22, and blues and spiritual singers Walter Parks and Rob Curto on January 17 with their “soaring American sound.”

There will be other performances, from poetic hip-hop to rearranged Tom Waits compositions, through spring. For the schedule and tickets, visit cathedralartslive.org.

Tickets for the October concert are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Hot food and cold beverages are available for purchase. Doors open at 7 p.m. to purchase tickets. The church is located at 39 Erie Street.

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