Several years ago two men had one of a few conversations centered around music in a place symbolic of jazz roots, a church.
The Rev. Dr. Floyd Beecham, Sr., co-pastor of Faith Tabernacle Gospel Fellowship International (FTGFI), heard Antonio Jackson, renowned jazz saxophonist play in the church where he Beecham preached with his wife and co-senior pastor, Dr. E. Mae Beecham. Beyond the saxophone and podium the two men entered a discussion of jazz artists, styles of jazz music and their shared interest and love for jazz in general.
Their conversation will figuratively continue Sept. 9, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., in a jazz concert memorial, “A Man of Distinction,” featuring Jackson and his quintet, to honor the life and work of Dr. Floyd Beecham, Sr. at FTGFI, 2025 North 4th St., Minneapolis. Tickets are online at www.eventbrite.com/e/evening-of-jazz-48220780653.This event will follow a family bowling night on Sept. 8 at Cedarvale Lanes, 3883, Cedar Grove Pkwy., Eagan. Tickets for that event are online at www.eventbrite.com/e/bowling-fellowship-fun-tickets-48228069454. All proceeds from the events will go to The Lighthouse, a 501c3 organization to serve homeless kids of Haiti by providing food, shelter, education and protection as an alternative to the extreme poverty they experience as orphans, fending for themselves for survival while experiencing violence, abandoned, and neglected.
Beecham, who served as a pastor for more than 30 years, passed away March 3 at the age of 76. He was a founding member of Hawthorne Huddle, a community advocacy group representing the Hawthorne neighborhood of North Minneapolis where the church is located. Before making his transition from earth Beecham was in the midst of developing The Lighthouse with the Rev. Ann Tipton, FTGFI outreach minister. Tipton recalls she had a vision, after traveling to Haiti, regarding the need to help ‘street kids.’
“It was a vision given by God for us to do. It’s a ministry that’s needed for street kids otherwise they have no other option,” said Tipton, who approached Beecham with the idea. “Pastor Beecham did the research and he was in tears when he saw the plight of street kids in Haiti. The organization will start small and increase. We will serve 20 kids ages 5-17; 10 girls and 10 boys.”
Similar to the freedom and synchronicity of jazz Beecham’s spirit is still living and will continue to inspire lives as Jackson and his Quintet continue their conversation with him in spirit.
“I plan to approach the concert in honor of him. How he would enjoy it if he were here. Everything will have a Christ centered aura. We will play standards, contemporary, and original music. We want to bring the experience of live jazz to the church. It’s great to bring jazz to the Northside of Minneapolis through the church’s efforts,” said Jackson.
For more information on the “Man of Distinction” Jazz concert memorial and bowling activities visit www.ftfgi.org/events.html.