NJPAC Announces Launch of 7th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

NJPAC Announces Launch of 7th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

For the seventh consecutive year, singers from around the world will gather online to compete in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (aka the "SASSY" Awards) -- a 21st century version of the amateur night at the Apollo Theater that helped launch the career of a gifted teenager from Newark, Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan, more than 75 years ago.


The competition at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) was originally created for women, and was opened to male vocalists for the first time last year. The Arts Center presents the contest as part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival supported by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank® (November 3-18) -- an autumn celebration that fills both the NJPAC campus and venues throughout Newark with every kind of jazz.

"Sarah Vaughan's artistry is timeless and irreplaceable. The great joy of this jazz vocal competition is discovering the extraordinary voices who will carry her legacy forward," said John Schreiber, NJPAC's President and CEO.

"We're thrilled that every season hundreds of singers from around the world, each in their unique way, advance the future of the music by entering this competition," he added. "We couldn't be happier that Sarah Vaughan continues to inspire musicians and music lovers via the SASSY Awards."

"'Sassy' had a divine voice that inspired so many people throughout her career up to today. Her instrument, the voice, is the basis for the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Opening the competition to all voices, regardless of gender, seemed like the natural progression," said Tony- and Grammy-winning singer DeeDee Bridgewater, who served as a judge during the contest's initial round in 2012.

The competition has become a platform for a single outstanding jazz singer to gain widespread recognition in the music industry. Past winners include Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn (winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Competition), Ashleigh Smith, Arianna Neikrug, Deelee Dubé, and last year's winner, Quiana Lynell.

The only international vocal competition of its kind, the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition culminates in a rousing performance by the five finalists on Nov. 18, at the conclusion of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.

Vocalists can enter by submitting recordings of at least three songs at at sarahvaughancompetition.com. The public can vote for their favorites; songs have been played, commented on, and voted for, hundreds of thousands of times over the course of the competition's existence.

Five finalists, who will be announced on Oct. 12, will perform at NJPAC before a panel of judges that includes multi-Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor; six-time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist-composer Nnenna Freelon; Mary Ann Topper, President of the Jazz Tree, Inc. artist management; WBGO Jazz 88.3FM personality Sheila Anderson, and trumpeter, conductor and composer Jon Faddis.

The competition is open to all vocalists who are 16 years old or older, and who are not presently signed to a major record label. Singers must submit audio clips online through a website powered by Indaba Music (sarahvaughancompetition.com) by Sept. 5 at 5 p.m.

Think you have what it takes? The judges are looking for vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation -- and the ability to swing. The grand prize winner of the coveted SASSY Award will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

The incomparable singer Sarah Vaughan was born in Newark in 1924 and was known as "Sassy" throughout her life for her vibrant personality. After winning the top prize of $10 at the Apollo Theater's amateur night at age 18 in 1942, she went on to record with the greatest names in jazz, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine and countless others.

The 2018 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition finals will take place on Sunday, November 18 at 3 p.m. in NJPAC's intimate Victoria Theater. Tickets on sale now at njpac.org, or 1.888.GO.NJPAC (1.888.466.5722).

About TD James Moody Jazz Festival

The TD James Moody Jazz Festival, co-produced by NJPAC and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM and sponsored by TD Bank, was inaugurated in 2012 and named in recognition of the jazz saxophone virtuoso from Newark. TD Bank is excited to sponsor the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, where families can enjoy extraordinary, live musical performances while also experiencing the TD Bank brand. At TD, we believe that investing in and enriching our communities is both a privilege and a responsibility.

NJPAC's annual celebration of "America's classical music" is a spree of more than two dozen concerts and related activities - over half of which are free to the community. Guided by Christian McBride, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor, the festival has presented artists such as The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, Sérgio Mendes, Bill Charlap, Esperanza Spalding, Fantasia, Chris Botti, Pat Metheny, and the Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette trio, among many others.

The TD James Moody Jazz Festival is intrinsic to Newark, a city renowned as the home and creative inspiration for jazz geniuses including Sarah Vaughan, Wayne Shorter and pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith, and institutions such as Savoy Records, the Rutgers-Newark Institute of Jazz Studies and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM. Among the festival's unique events are One on One with Christian McBride, a concert-and-conversation series featuring jazz's top talents; Dorthaan's Place Sunday jazz brunches at the Arts Center's NICO Kitchen + Bar; and a schedule of concerts and special attractions held off-campus throughout Newark.

About WBGO Newark Public Radio

WBGO is the global leader in jazz radio, broadcasting from the jazz capital of the world. Founded in 1979, WBGO is a publicly-supported cultural institution that preserves and elevates America's music: jazz and blues. WBGO reaches a weekly audience of more than 400,000 in the New York/New Jersey metro area via 88.3FM. Through programs such as Jazz Night in America, produced in partnership with NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and WBGO's position as content provider to NPR, its reach extends to millions more across the country. From its home base of Newark, New Jersey, Public Radio station WBGO has long been an anchor institution in community engagement through its partnerships, concerts, education and news programming.

About Indaba Music

Indaba Music is a technology platform led by digital music entrepreneur Mantis Evar. This marketing services company is home to a community of over 1.3 million musicians worldwide, from emerging artists to Grammy Award winners. Indaba expanded into the Licensing realm with Indaba Sync (www.indabasync.com), a portal for licensing the best emerging content from the Indaba Music community. Indaba Music pioneered the online music collaboration and community space when it launched in 2007, enabling anyone with internet access to create, edit and mix studio-quality music online. Indaba Music now provides musicians with opportunities ranging from remix contests to sync and licensing opportunities to branded marketing programs. Indaba Music currently boasts musicians from 205 countries and territories. To date, Indaba Music contests have featured artists and brands including Daft Punk, Red Bull, Snoop Dogg, Peter Gabriel, Linkin Park, Yo-Yo Ma, Microsoft, Paul Simon, Converse, Foster The People, Bacardi and Usher.

About NJPAC

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey - where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million visitors (including over 1.6 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.



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