The jazz trumpeter steps up to the microphone. Light outlines his horn. With closed eyes, he begins. The crowd settles, quiet and reflective, as the tune hangs in the air. A saxophone’s bellow enters in, then the bass’s moan, finally the pinpricks of the piano, and the steady rhythm of the drums. It’s Sunday, the song is Amazing Grace, and it’s time for church.

Dawn Holt Lauber was hailed as “exquisite” by Howard Reich of The Chicago Tribune for the world premiere performance of William Russo’s Jubilatem with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. Lauber also performed with the CJE in Russo’s Chicago Suite 2 and Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts.

The soprano first performed Ellington’s Sacred Concerts at The Riverside Church of New York City, which ignited an interest in jazz, both secular and what has come to be known as sacred jazz, or even church jazz.

Lauber’s recent recording, “Everlasting” (spirituals & hymns with jazz band) is featured on the jazz playlist of Sounds of Gospel Network radio.

She performs regularly with the Chicago band, Churchjazz. Their collaborations include worship services, concerts, tours, recordings, premiere of The Jazz Passion, and numerous benefits for World Vision, World Bicycle Relief, Jimmy Carter Foundation, and the Student Global AIDS Campaign, among others.

Other solo appearances include: Chicago Humanities Festival, Midwest premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian 200, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with John Nelson, The Riverside Church in Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Faure’s Requiem, and Kodaly’s Missa Brevis among other classical sacred works.

Lauber’s project with Albany Records, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” is a collection of traditional and contemporary wedding music. “Heavenly” features American jazz standards. “Lonesome Road,” a recording of her own sacred jazz tunes is due out in April 2014.

A Wheaton (IL) College graduate with a BA in English Literature, Lauber received her MM in Vocal Performance from the Hartt School of Music (CT). Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies and in The Christian Century magazine. Lauber served as Director of Worship Arts and choir director at the Glen Ellyn Evangelical Covenant Church.

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