Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival Gospel Track

The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival is excited to welcome Rev. Ann Jefferson to lead the Gospel Track for 2017!

Daily classes start on Monday July 31, 2017 and run through Friday August 4, 2017 from 3:30-5:30pm. Your tuition includes entry to the main stage performance on Saturday August 5, 2017.

African American gospel music has spread beyond the Black Church to become a part of festivals and choral programs in schools, churches, communities, and professional choruses throughout the world. As the gospel style has become increasingly popular singers, musicians and conductors with limited experience and training in the gospel style are seeking tools and resources that will allow them and their choruses to perform gospel music with stylistic authenticity and maintain the artistic integrity.

As a collective art form gospel music has always been able to bring people together from different backgrounds to create one musical family. As a music of joy and hope it has always been used to foster harmony, healing and mutual understanding. Therefore, this workshop will bring people together to celebrate diversity and artistic expression through the performance of Gospel music.

Rev. Ann Jefferson, a 36-year resident of the Bay Area, currently works as Director of Community Life and Spiritual Care at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) in Berkeley, CA. In that role, she is one of the Campus Pastors and a Co-Instructor in the Spiritual Formation for Leadership course.  Beginning her career at PSR as Worship Director and serving in that capacity (for a total of 10 years) as well as a Program Coordinator in Community and Continuing Education, Ann has been a part of this community for 16 years.  Beyond PSR, Ann serves as Associate Pastor of Worship & Liturgical Arts at City of Refuge UCC in Oakland, where she has also served as a Field Education Mentor for numerous seminarians.  She has also worked as a musician and music director of several congregations throughout the region.

Ann brings 30+ years’ experience and passion to her study and teaching of the history of African-American sacred music. A key planner of the African-American hymn festival for the Society’s conference held in Berkeley in 2008 and a recipient of a 2010 Heritage Keepers’ Award from the Friends of the Negro Spirituals, she has taught numerous seminars in this subject area.  Those include several PSR short courses and presentations in collaboration with the Center for Arts and Religion in Education (C.A.R.E.) of the Graduate Theological Union; a seminar on African-American women hymn and gospel pioneers at the 2010 annual conference of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada; Gospel music as well as a contemplative practice workshop utilizing the Spirituals at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe, and she was also a presenter in two SF Jazz Center Series taught by Grammy-nominated vocalist, Linda Tillery.


A lover of worship and ritual, Rev. Jefferson enjoys working with circles of learning and leadership to inspire hearts toward greater spiritual reflection and transformative action.  She is also passionate about preaching and creating sacred liturgies and liturgical items customized for a variety of congregational, family, and community settings. In this capacity, she has created a number of liturgies for The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM), the national and international coalition of affirming pastors and congregations born from the ministry of City of Refuge.

It is Ann’s continuing goal to engage in more of this creative and liturgical work through her own venture, Rhythms of Grace Creations.  She produced three concerts of her sacred compositions and arrangements under the project name “Love Beyond Margins” in 2012, 2013, and 2016 and hopes to have an initial EP project completed before the end of 2017.  Above all, Rev. Jefferson believes in the power of liturgy as the “work of the people” and thrives in being a “Holy Co-ConSPIRITor” and Collaborator” with others in creating worship experiences where all can embrace and be embraced by the Living God.