The Detroit Jazz Festival and the in Grosse Pointe Shores have teamed again to create a magical evening concert that celebrates American music, young musicians and Detroit's jazz roots.
On Aug. 24, "Sing, Sing, Sing" will celebrate the region's music history with the distinct vocal styles of three "jazz divas"--Shahida Nurullah, Judy Cochill and Ursula Walker.
Shahida Nurullah, a native Detroiter, is known world-wide for her vocal talent. Indeed, Nurullah is not only a jazz singer but her repertoire also includes the blues, samba, bossa nova, show tunes and more. She is a vocal instructor at the University of Windsor and her latest recording, “The Ruby and the Pearl,” reflects a lifetime of rich musical experiences.
Judy Cochill, also from Detroit, has had a vocal career that has spanned more than four decades in several genres in addition to jazz.
Ursula Walker has had a celebrated performance career for 60 years as a jazz vocalist in the Detroit music world. Walker has opened for many well-known performers, including Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, and Tania Maria. Last year, Walker was named "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist" at the Detroit Music Awards.
'Junior Diva' Selected
The evening's veteran performers will be joined by a young jazz student and aspiring "diva", Keyandra May.
Organizers reached out to school music directors for nominations to the vocal competition. Fellow competitors were students Emma Aboukasm and Olivia Ray and Regan Langley and ReVana Stanfield of the Detroit School of Arts.
All the young jazz singers chose their own songs and arrangements, Chris Collins, Detroit Jazz Festival Artistic Director said.
"The first thing that caught my ear was the sophistication of the repertoire of these girls...very mature and very connected to what jazz is all about,"
Collins said that the Detroit Jazz Festival is dedicated to creating opportunities to showcase gifted young jazz musicians, particularly in the vocal tradition, that Detroit continues to produce.
"The quality of talent was something I had hoped for and they exceeded my expectations," Collins continued.
Plans to expand the vocal contest next year are already in the works.
“We’re thrilled to continue this partnership and bring jazz music to Ford House,” said Kathleen Mullins, president, Edsel & EleanorFord House in a written release.
“This is not only about hearing great Detroit performers, but helping the listeners become engrossed in the experience of the Ford House. And
the addition of the student competition fits perfectly with our focus on
students and education,” Mullins said.
Also performing at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House concert will be the J.C. Heard All-Star Youth Ensemble, a select group of students from the Detroit Jazz Festival’s J.C. Heard Jazz Week at Wayne program.
Members of the ensemble are: Mike Hudson-Casanova, Kasan Belgrave, Chris Tabaczynski, Nolan Young, Stephen Grady, Allen Dennard, Nick Masters and Trevor Robertson.
The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House grounds open at 6:00 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:00 p.m.. For more information or to purchase tickets visit the Ford House's website or call 313.884.4222.