The Brew’s Brothers

Darkwood Brew is an immersive worship experience, to say the least. Our band, The Brew’s Brothers is an integral part of setting the mood and enhancing your worship experience. Chuck Marohnic, the band’s director, offers this message…

Why use jazz in worship?

Many years ago when I was playing in jazz clubs, I had the opportunity to work with the great Ira Sullivan in Miami, FL. for nearly three years. Ira was and still is a devout man who has always recognized music as a gift of God. To this day, he still closes each performance with Amazing Grace. Ira was the first jazz musician to introduce me to the concept of playing jazz in a worship setting. We played in several churches for congregations and clergy who appreciated creative music and encouraged musicians to continue doing so. Today there are many jazz musicians playing in churches and recording sacred jazz CDs. My ministry called Sanctuary Jazz, continues to take me to churches throughout the US where I bring the concept of improvised music to worship services, clinics for church musicians, church conferences and concerts.

The main reason that jazz works perfectly in worship is that it is improvisational and happens in the present moment. That is where God always can be found. It is essential toward helping experiential worship. Darkwood Brew offers musicians a chance to improvise music under Scripture readings as well as during Communion. Each week we have a special music feature where the musicians get a chance to “stretch out”. As a composer, I regularly write special music for our weekly themes. There are many different styles of jazz and with the carefully selected professional musicians we have each week, they can easily handle the demands of the music as well as the complexities of the show itself.

And the best part of it is that the musicians love the experience of playing jazz in worship. It is so much more than just another gig.”

Chuck Marohnic

Director of Music for Darkwood Brew Leader of The Brew’s Brothers

chuckChuck Marohnic  |  Director Emeritus

For 18 years, Chuck has had the privilege of serving as Music Director in numerous churches including United Methodist, Roman Catholic and United Churches of Christ. He is also a frequent guest performer and clinician at many churches throughout the US. His association with Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes began at Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ in Scottsdale, AZ where he served as Director of Music for the now well known Studio Worship service. After retiring from Arizona State University in 2003 as Director of Jazz Studies and moving to Louisville, KY with his wife Mary Ann, Chuck was asked by Eric Elnes, now senior Pastor at Countryside Community Church in Omaha, NE to help develop a jazz based worship service there. During this period, Rev. Elnes approached Chuck with the idea of an Internet ministry. Both Eric and Chuck worked on developing what is now known worldwide as Darkwood Brew where Chuck serves as Music Director leading a jazz quartet. His ministry Sanctuary Jazz now includes numerous published books of jazz arrangements of church hymns for several publishers and many CD recordings. For a full discography and bibliography of Chuck’s work, visit his website.

mattMatt Wallace | Director | Saxophone

Omaha native Matt Wallace has been called the “premier sax man in the Midwest” (Aberdeen Summer Jam 2005). From 1987 to 1998, Wallace toured the world with jazz legend Maynard Ferguson. He has performed with the likes of Arturo Sandoval, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Hirt, Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman, Herbie Hancock, Paul Shaffer, Diane Shuur, Billy Eckstine, Chick Corea, George Benson, and Chuck Mangione. He has also performed on TV and radio and played the national anthem at NBA, MLB, and NCAA games across the country and in Canada.

steveSteve Gomez  |  Bass

Steve is a full time freelance bassist from Omaha, NE and continues to be in high demand as a diverse musician.  One of the highlights of Steve’s career is being the bassist for Luigi, inc. – an Omaha jazz group that is currently maintaining one of the steadiest gigs across the country, spanning over twenty years of consecutive Sundays!  Additionally, Steve tours across the country with Rave On, a Buddy Holly tribute show, as well as Rock Legends, covering a compilation of hits from The Rolling Stones and The Doors to The Beatles, Elton John and Billy Joel. At home, Steve has played bass in shows at the Omaha Community Playhouse for over twenty years.  He very much enjoys his free time with his wife Dinah and daughter Margeaux.

carlosCarlos Figueroa  |  Percussion

Carlos is a life long student of music. He began his professional career in 1977, when he joined the United States Air Force (USAF) Band as a percussionist. During Carlos’ 23 year Air Force career, he performed throughout the world with twenty four USAF Bands. After retiring from the Air Force in 2001, Carlos settled in Omaha, Nebraska where he currently maintains a busy schedule as a freelance percussionist. He performs with over 50 artists and organizations annually and can be heard on many recordings of local and regional artists. Carlos thoroughly enjoys being part of the development process of young musicians. He received his degree in music from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in 2006 where he also served as an Artist Faculty member from 2001 to 2008. Carlos is currently an Artist in Residence with the UNO jazz department. As a Nebraska Arts Council Artist in Schools and Communities (NAC/AiSC) Artist, he conducts residencies, workshops, and clinics throughout the state of Nebraska. Carlos is also a clinician with the Blues Society of Omaha’s Blues Education program. He is a board member of the Omaha Musicians Association, AFM Local 70-558. Carlos lives in Dundee with his wife, Elizabeth.    

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