Lifestyle

Band formed By Committee

Churches are used for worship services, Bible studies, weddings, memorial services and sometimes 12-step program meetings. Calvary Presbyterian in Enumclaw boasts another group meeting at 1 p.m. every Sunday. At that time you’ll find the Rev. Fred Davis jamming and rehearsing with his fellow “By Committee” jazz sextet band members. The band has evolved since it officially formed in 2007. As it stands now, By Committee has a full compliment of accomplished instrumentalists beginning with Davis on trumpet and flugelhorn, Paul Jackson on drums, Mark Thompson on keyboard, Dennis Box on guitar, Earl Klein on tenor sax and bass guitar, and Steve Body on bass guitar, upright bass and congas. Then there is the lovely Lori McKenna as their smoky, hot vocalist. I’ve known Lori for years and told her I wouldn’t embarrass her too much if I wrote about By Committee. Jackson recounts how By Committee started up. “As a Gateway band member, around 2006, I had heard Fred Davis play at church. I asked why he didn’t play more with the community band or orchestra. It turns out he had played with the Gateway band previously. Fred’s comment was that he really wanted to play in a big band. I knew some guys in the Renton City Concert Band who played with a big band. Fred thought that was too far away, so I told him if he could hang on, I’d probably have a set of drums in a couple of months and the two of us could get together a group. I was listening to By Committee rehearse one Sunday afternoon and asked Davis how they came to call themselves By Committee. He explained that they were all in agreement that Presbyterians always make decisions by a committee vote and that was how they intended to operate as a band as well. The name “By Committee” was a nice fit. Davis shared some of the bands repertoire with me as well and some insight to where By Committee might show up for future gigs. “I could see us playing for weddings, anniversary parties, benefit concerts, outdoor venues, street fairs, and the like. I hope this sheds a little more light on our history and what the group means to those of us who have been with it from the beginning. “For me, playing with this group has been therapy; a great relief from the daily pressures of the pastorate. I often tell my wife Judy that jazz is ‘pure music’ in that the arrangement is fully up to the performers as to the way the final product is presented. It plays on each player’s creative ear and ability in addition to simply technical ability. Jazz, whether I am listening to it or playing it, makes me a little lighter in spirit; it makes me smile. You can reach By Committee to book a gig by calling 360-825-8048 or by e-mailing davisfredd@msn.com.

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