Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

NJPAC Announces Lucia Gutierrez Rebolloso as Winner Of Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

The event took place on November 20.

NJPAC Announces Lucia Gutierrez Rebolloso as Winner Of Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

At a star-studded, sold-out performance held yesterday afternoon on the NJPAC stage, Lucía Gutiérrez Rebolloso was announced the winner of the 11th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Hosted by WBGO Radio's Gary Walker, "The SASSY Awards" featured performances by the competitions top five finalists as well as special appearances by previous winners Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim and Gabrielle Cavassa.

Recipient of a $5,000 cash award and winner of The SASSY Awards was Lucía Gutiérrez Rebolloso who wowed the esteemed panel of judges with the bebop standard "Donna Lee". Rebolloso, a 21-year-old vocalist, born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, grew up singing in the family's group, singing son jarocho, a blend of Spanish, African and indigenous Mexican influences-a style that originated on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. "It was a natural introduction to the many influences in jazz, with a strong reminder that at the center is a story to tell," Gary Walker says. "Lucía's life story is one that will serve her well in jazz for years to come."

The Second Place honor and $1,500 prize went to Ekep Nkwelle, a singer and songwriter who studied both Classical Voice and Jazz Performance at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School in Washington, D.C., and later attended Howard University, where she performed with the school's prestigious vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue. Third Place and a prize of $500 was awarded to Harlem-based Allan Harris, who as a child had the great privilege and honor to watch Sarah Vaughan perform live at The Apollo.

Pulled from over 200 submissions from over 25 countries, the Top Five Finalists took to the stage with magnificent performances in front of a live audience and the distinguished panel of judges including premier jazz violinist Regina Carter, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor and multi-Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride, drummer T.S. Monk (Thelonious Monk, Jr.), NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider, and WBGO Radio personality Pat Prescott.

The competition recalls the humble beginnings of legendary jazz singer/NEA Jazz Master Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990) who, back in 1942, was a Newark teenager and winner of an amateur singing contest at the Apollo Theater. That memorable night helped launch the lifework of one of the most successful, influential jazz vocalists in the history of American music. Past winners include Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn,Ashleigh Smith, Arianna Neikrug, Deelee Dubé, Quiana Lynell, Laurin Talese, Samara Joy, Gabrielle Cavassa and Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim, and G. Thomas Allen. What has become one of the top annual vocal competitions in jazz, The SASSY Awards offers outstanding jazz singers a one-of-a-kind platform for embarking on a career in the music business-and offers audience members a chance to discover the jazz stars of tomorrow. The contest is open to singers over the age of 18, of all genders and nationalities, from anywhere in the world, and not signed by a major label. Entrants are judged on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation, and ability to swing. For more information about The SASSY Awards, visit SarahVaughanCompetition.com



Placer Rep To Present A Holiday Variety Show Featuring Local Performing Artists  Photo
Actors, singers, comedians, writers and more will take the stage on December 7 at  Placer Repertory Theater's annual variety show with open mic that celebrates the  completion of Season 2022 on Wednesday, December 7th at Studio E in Lincoln. 

Entertain and Dine NJ  Style– Madison Edition Photo
We are happy to continue this series of articles highlighting a top entertainment venue and a local restaurant that you can visit.

Special Offer: JOY at George Street Playhouse Photo
Special Offer: Joy: The Musical - Erika Henningsen Stars!

Hudson Theatre Works Presents Its Annual 10 MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL Benefit Photo
Hudson Theatre Works presents its Annual 10 Minute Play Festival benefitting Hudson Theatre Works including new plays by John Patrick Shanley, Richard Vetere, Barbara Blatner, Joanne Hoersch, Zach Weed, Lenny Horst, and Sarah T. Schwab with Robert Funaro of the Sopranos.


More Hot Stories For You


Creating Change Network Seeks Participation from the New Jersey Arts Community for National Day of Racial HealingCreating Change Network Seeks Participation from the New Jersey Arts Community for National Day of Racial Healing
November 28, 2022

The Creating Change Network, a program hosted by New Jersey Theatre Alliance and ArtPride New Jersey that aims to build a more equitable, just, accessible, and anti-racist arts community in New Jersey, will faciliate participation by the state’s arts community in the National Day of Racial Healing, on January 17, 2023.

Placer Rep To Present A Holiday Variety Show Featuring Local Performing Artists Placer Rep To Present A Holiday Variety Show Featuring Local Performing Artists 
November 25, 2022

Actors, singers, comedians, writers and more will take the stage on December 7 at  Placer Repertory Theater's annual variety show with open mic that celebrates the  completion of Season 2022 on Wednesday, December 7th at Studio E in Lincoln. 

Surflight's Presents Irving Berlin's WHITE CHRISTMAS, December 3-18Surflight's Presents Irving Berlin's WHITE CHRISTMAS, December 3-18
November 23, 2022

Surflight Theatre, after a terrific summer and fall season is now thrilled to be presenting the festive and beloved musical White Christmas from December 3-18th.  With spectacular tap dancing and a dazzling score featuring well-known standards including “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean”, Count Your Blessings and the perennial title song, White Christmas is an uplifting musical perfect to bring joy in the Holiday Season.

Hudson Theatre Works Presents Its Annual 10 MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL BenefitHudson Theatre Works Presents Its Annual 10 MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL Benefit
November 23, 2022

Hudson Theatre Works presents its Annual 10 Minute Play Festival benefitting Hudson Theatre Works including new plays by John Patrick Shanley, Richard Vetere, Barbara Blatner, Joanne Hoersch, Zach Weed, Lenny Horst, and Sarah T. Schwab with Robert Funaro of the Sopranos.

Visual Arts Center Of New Jersey Receives Multiple GrantsVisual Arts Center Of New Jersey Receives Multiple Grants
November 23, 2022

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) recently received multiple grant awards from several funders signifying VACNJ's continued commitment to empowering people to see, make, and learn about art. The grants awarded to the Art Center were: