Trio of Roseville churches come together for Gospel & Jazz Choir Festival

submitted photo • Calvary Church singers.

submitted photo • Jenny Currie at the piano with Roseville Covenant Church singers.

submitted photo • John Helgen at right with the RLC Jazz Band.

Next month, three Roseville congregations of different denominations are coming together for a musical celebration.

Singers from Calvary Church, Roseville Covenant Church and Roseville Lutheran Church will join forces, accompanied by the RLC Jazz Band, piano and percussion, at Calvary Church for the Sunday, May 6, Gospel & Jazz Choir Festival.

“We’re excited to sing together, but it’s just as exciting to share it with anyone who comes,” said Tammie Junkans, the traditional worship pastor at Calvary.

Junkans is collaborating with John Helgen, the director of music at Roseville Lutheran and Jenny Currie, the sanctuary choir director at Roseville Covenant, for the festival.

Spurred because she wondered, “What would it be like if we decided to sing together?” Junkans said she knew of Helgen by reputation and she and Currie attended Bethel University at the same time.

Junkans, also an adjunct professor at University of Northwestern and a former K-12 music teacher, said she emailed both out of the blue, and in short order during a meet up with Helgen, they knew they’d be putting together a multi-congregation concert.

Featuring some 125 singers, the festival will include two performances of seven songs each, some of which are original arrangements by Helgen, who’s been in charge of music at Roseville Lutheran since 2003 and also performs elsewhere.

He said festival-goers should expect what’s stated in the name — gospel and jazz — with some R&B and pop music influences too, a real blending of styles. Themes included in the music will include “thankfulness and praise, gratitude and trust.”

“The music we have just crosses the denominational lines,” said Helgen. 

Roseville Lutheran is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, while Calvary is part of Converge, a Baptist organization, and Covenant is a part of the Evangelical Covenant Church. 

Each church is 65-70 years old and varies in size, with more than 1,000 people attending both Roseville Lutheran and Calvary each week, and some 400 attending Covenant on a weekly basis. Each does overseas mission work among other programs and outreach.

Despite the congregations’ differences, the churches are located centrally in Roseville, separated by no more than a couple miles.

“We’re all in the same little city,” said Currie, who also teaches private piano lessons out of her Roseville home studio. It’s good to have the congregations mingle, she added, because “sometimes you feel really enclosed in your [church] building.”

The free festival will also feature food trucks, including the popular Tot Boss truck, as well as free childcare for infants and kids up to 3 years old. Come for “great food, great music,” said Junkans.

As the festival fast approaches and with few rehearsals for the all-volunteer performers, none of the three experienced musicians said they were all that nervous about the big event.

“I’m not worried about it,” said Helgen. “Anything that happens, we’ll roll with it and have fun and it’ll be a joyous experience.”

If you go ...
The Gospel & Jazz Choir Festival is Sunday, May 6, at Calvary Church in Roseville, with concert performances at 3 and 5 p.m. and food trucks in the church parking lot from 4 to 7 p.m. Childcare for children up to 3 years old is available during the concerts. The festival is a collaboration of Calvary Church, Roseville Covenant Church and Roseville Lutheran Church. Calvary Church is located at 2120 Lexington Ave. N.


– Mike Munzenrider can be reached at or 651-748-7813


Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Comment Here