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Marilyn Keller
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 15 January 2021

On Sunday, Jan. 17, the St. Andrew community will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 9:30 mass, livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. At that mass, Marilyn Keller will give the reflection, and two people will be honored with the 2021 service awards that the parish gives annually in the name of Dr. King.

Guest speaker Marilyn Keller has enjoyed a 39-year career performing jazz, gospel, and blues, nationally and internationally. She has sung throughout the Pacific Northwest with various artists, including Darrell Grant, with whom she has enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration. In 2019, she traveled to Washington, DC to perform with Grant his “Step by Step: The Ruby Bridges Suite” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

She has also performed widely abroad as the featured artist at concerts, festivals and clubs in Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Australia. Her work can be heard on multiple recordings, movie soundtracks, and documentaries.

Keller currently serves on the board of directors for the Portland Symphonic Choir, as well as the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble, a 12-piece jazz chamber orchestra which commissions and performs original jazz works. She also works alongside the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform to work for peace, human rights and to end gun violence.

A three-decade member of Augustana Lutheran Church, Marilyn is the vocal instrument in the Augustana Jazz Quartet (George Mitchell, piano; Kevin Deitz, bass; Ron Steen, drums), whose unique repertoire is utilized in weaving the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with jazz, gospel, hymns and inspirational music.A committed ambassador for ecumenism, Keller enjoys any opportunity for friendship with other congregations, within and beyond Christianity. In January 2019, she sang at Temple Beth Israel during the Shabbat for Bryan Stevenson, Esq., founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy. She believes that as we learn about each other, we come to recognize our shared connections. “I want to be that bridge,” she says. It is a creed by which she lives.

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