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What is EvenSong?


EvenSong Ensemble was formed in Ottawa, Canada in 2016 as a quartet and then as a quintet to bridge the spontaneous and uplifting power found in the contemporary concert experience with jazz-gospel-pop-folk-blues styles and the progressive theology and inclusive communities found in many congregations, especially in the United Church of Canada.  Embracing a focus on "Open Heart, Open Mind" and "Faith Like Jazz," we place the emphasis on the power of music, love, and community to empower us to overcome our global and personal challenges.


Garnering national attention, EvenSong continues to live its vision, expanding its mandate into educational pursuits including the Faith Like Jazz conference and working with choirs. Also, they are producing their debut album in CD and digital formats for release this summer 2018, as well as videos of live performances for later distribution.


Designed to be engaging, inclusive, and spiritually focused, this project—this ministry—consists of a mix of popular music styles, secular and sacred, all with a jazz spirit and spontaneity. Our live performances often feature collaborations with like-minded creators of music, spoken-word, and other arts anywhere from nights clubs to churches to outdoor festivals to engage with an audience wherever we are on our spiritual journeys.

Photo credit: AJ Pascas

James McGowan, keyboards     Peter Woods, saxophones    JP Lapensee, bass     Jamie Holmes, drums     Leah Cogan, voice


Leah Cogan is a singer and actor on both film and stage. As a graduate of Brown University and the Sheridan College Music Theatre program, she is a sought-after teacher, coach, and workshop facilitator. She was the winner of the 2009 CBC Triple Sensation competition.


Peter Woods is a saxophonist with recording credits including with Brian Browne in jazz, blues, and rock'n'roll. He has spent years bridging the gap between concert halls, pubs, and churches. He is also the minister at MacKay United Church in Ottawa.


James McGowan is an award-winning faculty member at Carleton University, and director of music at Trinity United Church (Ottawa). An active pianist of jazz, fusion, classical, and improvised musics, he is also a composer, arranger, music theorist, and conductor.

JP Lapensee is an active bass player, teacher, and recording artist in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. He performs with The Chocolate Hot Pockets, Modasaurus, the HML Trio, which performs a weekly jazz jam session every Thursday at Brookstreet Hotel, and several other ensembles.


Jamie Holmes is an active drummer who performs with The Chocolate Hot Pockets, Thrust, Beats and Keys, Modasaurus, the HML Trio, and other groups.  Since completing his undergrad with a Bachelors in Performance from Carleton University, Jamie has become a JUNO nominated drummer, and has toured and performed all over North America as well Europe and Australia.