St. Luke’s Episcopal Church invites the community to a Mardi Gras celebration and Evensong service, both during the second weekend of February.

The church will host its first-ever Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, February 10. The evening will begin with a fundraising pancake supper followed by a Dixieland jazz band concert and king cake reception. The supper, held in the church Fellowship Hall from 5:00 PM to 6:45 p.m., includes pancakes, sausage, and beverages for $10 per person; tickets must be purchased ahead of the event at

At 7:00 p.m., community members are invited to enjoy a free concert by Ben Mauger’s Vintage Jazz Band in the nave (sanctuary) of the church. The five-piece band  performs early festive jazz that was made famous during the 1920s and ‘30s in New Orleans. The group has performed at (to name a few) the Hot Steamed Jazz Festival in Connecticut; Potomac River Jazz Society in the Washington, DC, area; The Pennsylvania State Jazz Society in Easton, Pennsylvania; The Tri-State Jazz Society; Suncoast Jazz Society in Florida; Bethlehem Musikfest; and many concerts in the park and private events throughout the East Coast.

Ben Mauger’s Vintage Jazz Band. (Photo courtesy of Ben Mauger)

After the concert a free reception featuring a king cake will be held in the church auditorium. The name “king cake” comes from the biblical story of the three kings who bring  gifts to Baby Jesus. A blend of coffee cake and cinnamon roll, king cake is usually iced in yellow, green, and purple – the colors of Mardi Gras. Hidden within these seasonal sweets also lies a special surprise: a plastic king cake baby. King cake is first served on King’s Day and lasts through the eve of Mardi Gras to celebrate the coming of the three kings.

The following day at 6:00 p.m. the church will offer a Solemn Choral Evensong for Transfiguration Sunday. This Evensong will be an intimate service of sung and recited scripture contemplating the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of the prophets Moses and Elijah. Also on this occasion, the Church observes the last use of the “Alleluia” before the reflective liturgical season of Lent begins on the following (Ash) Wednesday. 

The St. Luke’s Festival Choir will offer the Preces and Responses of Jason Yannuzzi; Psalm 114 set by Terry Heisey; the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis of F. H. Shera; “Transfiguration,” an anthem by Joel Martinson; and “Alleluia” by William Boyce. This particular liturgy will be offered in the St. Luke’s Auditorium to take advantage of its spectacular acoustics, and will feature both the church’s Moller tracker organ and the Steinway piano. Jason Yannuzzi will lead the Festival Choir and Terry Heisey will accompany.

A prior St. Luke’s Evensong with Jason Yannuzzi. (Photo courtesy of Rob Box)

Evensong is a sung Vespers service preserved through the centuries in English cathedrals and college chapels. A vast amount of literature was written for this daily service. St. Luke’s is the only church in this area outside of major cities (New York, Philadelphia, and Washington) to sing regular Evensong.

All St. Luke’s Evensongs are free and open to the public. A freewill offering will be taken. 

St.  Luke’s Episcopal Church is located at the corner of Chestnut and South 6th Streets in historic downtown Lebanon, PA.