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About NCDAAdvertise With UsDistrict RepresentativesFree Elementary WorkshopsLeadershipLegacy FundNCDA AwardsNCDA Summer ConferenceNext DirectionPrevious Award RecipientsRegistration CancelledRegistration Payment Using PayPalRemind101Repertoire & ResourcesCommunity Chair's BlogR&S Self-Published WorksShort NotesThank YouTransactions

Vocal Jazz

2016 NCDA Vocal Jazz Festival Information

NCDA Vocal Jazz Festival Clinician 2016



Based in DaScreen Shot 2015-11-19 at 2.43.44 PMllas, TX, Rosana Eckert wears many musical hats as an internationally recognized live and studio vocalist, a published songwriter and arranger, a voice-over actor, and a master teacher. As a vocal artist, she has recorded four solo CDs of her original songs and arrangements and performs regularly throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her debut CD, At the End of the Day, was praised as a “superior debut” by Cadence Magazine and was a finalist for Best New Jazz Album in the 2006 Independent Music Awards. Over the years, she has had the pleasure of performing and/or recording with such jazz greats as Lyle Mays, Kenny Wheeler, George Duke, Jon Faddis, and Bobby McFerrin, and she is the go-to sub on both the soprano and alto parts in the Grammy Award-winning vocal quartet New York Voices. A renowned educator, Rosana is Senior Lecturer of jazz voice at the University of North Texas. She serves on the faculty of the UNT Vocal Jazz Summer Workshop and the New York Voices Summer Vocal Jazz Camp, and she is in demand as a clinician, festival adjudicator, guest conductor, and choral arranger. Her many published vocal ensemble arrangements have been performed worldwide. She recently co-wrote a jazz musical for young voices with popular children’s author and educator Sharon Burch titled Freddie the Frog and the Jungle Jazz (published by Hal Leonard). She is also a featured improviser on the vocal improvisation app Scatability (released Fall 2015), by Michele Weir. In addition to her extensive live performing, writing, and teaching, Rosana also works regularly as a studio vocalist and voice-over talent in Dallas, having sung or spoken on hundreds of commercials, album projects, publishing demos, and radio IDs around the world. www.rosanaeckert.com

Join us on March 21, 2016

Columbus High School in Columbus, Nebraska


2016 NCDA Vocal Jazz Festival

Registration Form Click HERE

2016 All-State Jazz Choir Auditions

All State Jazz Choir Clinician 2016

All-State Jazz Honor Choir Registration Form 2016


Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 2.25.08 PM
Tenor and Baritone | kelly@grooveforthought.com
Kelly grew up in Redmond, Washington. From the time he was about three years old, he
would often sit around singing songs while his father, Jack, accompanied him on the piano. As
he and his siblings got a little older, they would do the dishes, all the while singing songs in
three­-part harmony.

As a 2nd grader, Kelly started playing the violin, but by the time he got to the 5th grade,
he wanted to play a more “manly” instrument, so he picked up the trumpet. He continued to play
the trumpet all the way through college. While in High School, he decided he wanted to be able
to play in his jazz choir’s rhythm section, so he started learning how to play the bass. Since
then, he has played in all kinds of bands, from jazz to latin to rock. Although his emphasis has
changed primarily to arranging, singing and producing, he still plays on different projects from
time to time, the most recent being a couple of tracks on Groove’s newest jazz CD, Unnecessary

Kelly has a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Music education, earning both degrees from
Central Washington University. His daughter, Amanda, recently graduated from Central with a
degree in music composition. His son, Christian, is working on a double major in vocal
performance and accounting, also at Central. Kelly currently teaches music courses at Bellevue
College in Bellevue, Washington and conducts his own community jazz choir called Last Call.
He also works with high school­-aged students from the Northwest Boychoir organization. Over
the years, Kelly has developed a reputation as one of the finest and most respected vocal jazz
directors in the nation, directing award winning jazz choirs on almost every educational level
while also presenting numerous clinics and workshops every year.

Aside from being the musical director and one of the founding members of Groove, Kelly
has worked as a studio singer and arranger for many, many years. He also has his own project
studio where he does tracks for various recording and commercial projects, including recording,
mixing and producing most of the music heard on the Groove for Thought CDs.


NCDA is committed to encouraging Vocal Jazz in our schools though two specific opportunities during the school year. The NCDA VOCAL JAZZ FESTIVAL and the NCDA All-State Jazz Choir.


The NCDA VOCAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, held each year at Columbus High School, first began in 2004 with the purpose of providing non-competitive performance/clinic opportunities to vocal jazz ensembles.  It is designed to encourage the implementation of vocal jazz into the choral curriculum as part of a comprehensive music program that spans elementary to post secondary education. The first clinician was Kirk Marcy from Edmonds Community College in Washington State. Past years have witnessed such notable clinicians as Kirby Shaw, Michele Weir, Frank DeMiero, Vijay Singh, Randy Crenshaw, Kerry Marsh, Julia Dollison, Jennifer Barnes, Greg Jasperse, and the entire Just 4 Kicks quartet. Many thanks to Dr. Joel Schreuder from Chadron State College for assisting in the development of the festival as our first Vocal Jazz Repertoire & Standards Chair!

MULTIPLE PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES. Each group has a main stage performance with our clinician as well as a follow-up clinic in the choir room with a secondary clinician. There are breakout sessions that your students will attend as well as the “Parade of Choirs” at the end of the day where everyone sings once more for all the groups.  Any level of age or ability is accepted at the festival. If you would prefer, there is a category for those only wishing to observe and participate in the breakout sessions.

The festival is open to all schools, however NCDA members will receive a discounted registration. Please click HERE for the registration form, which you can fill out and mail to Celeste Ditter at the address listed on the form.


1. The festival is about learning from and supporting each other. Let us celebrate our differences of class size, age, and levels of jazz development. We all can learn something from each other.

2. Cooperation, not competition is the key to the deepest level of appreciation and life-long learning. We sing for the sake of performing music, not to find out if we are better than someone else.

3. Breakout sessions provide another opportunity to sing and learn. Take advantage of these sessions by actively participating when asked. It is no time to be shy.

4. Vocal Jazz strengthens musicianship skills by performing tight harmonies, difficult rhythms, and singing expressively in a many different styles such as blues, swing, big band, bebop, contemporary, etc.

5. All wide variety of styles can be performed, but at some point in your program you should swing and have improvisational opportunities for the students to be called a jazz choir.


This group is open to any current freshman through senior student at the time of the audition and can range from 12 to 24 singers. They are to practice and memorize all selected materials prior to the beginning of the NCDA Summer Convention at Doane College in Crete, NE in July.  Rehearsals with the guest conductor begin on Sunday evening and culminate with a final performance Tuesday night. Past conductors have included Paris Rutherford, Kerry Marsh, Rosana Eckert, Vijay Singh, Steve Zegree, and David von Kampen.

If you are interested in auditioning, or having your student(s) audition, please download the All-State Jazz Registration Form which will be available very soon.



1. State your name (not your school) and voice part.

2. *Scales (Scale examples)

A. Major

B. Blues (1, b3, 4, #4, 5, b7, 8)

C. Chromatic

*Students will sing up and down all three scales in eighth-note movement as indicated in the examples provided below. This should be done a cappella and in the swing style on the syllables ‘doo-ba’ or ‘doo-va.’ Tempo: quarter note=92bpm. The student may be given ONLY the starting pitch.

S – begin on E4; A – begin on A4; T – begin on E3; Bar/Bass – begin on A3

3. Literature

Students will prepare and sing their part on a portion of a selection provided by the guest conductor. This year’s excerpt is from “Home With You”. This excerpt will be available on the NCDA website, www.nebraskachoral.org, on the Vocal Jazz page. Accuracy in pitch and rhythm, as well as tempo and style, will be graded. This should be sung and recorded with the accompaniment track provided on the website.

4. Prepared solo selection

Each student should select a solo in a comfortable key from Vol. 41 or 107 of the Jamey Aebersold sing-a-long series or from “APPROACHING THE STANDARDS for Jazz Vocalists,” by Ronald C. McCurdy and Dr. Willie L. Hill, Jr. This alternative option includes an accompaniment CD AND demonstrations by live performers. The student’s initial interpretation of the selected piece should reflect closely what is printed in the music. As the solo progresses, and the student repeats and returns to “the head” or the beginning of the tune, he/she should lyrically, melodically, and/or rhythmically embellish the existing material or choose to improvise using scat syllables. The singer should be sure to attempt to demonstrate his/her entire range. He/she should sing through the form a total of 2 or 3 times only. This prepared solo should be recorded while singing along to the accompanying CD provided with the book.

(Aebersold volumes are $19.95 for book/CDs and are available through Jamey’s website, www.jazzbooks.com, as well as through many of your local music retailers. You can find “APPROACHING THE STANDARDS for Jazz Vocalists” at http://www.alfred.com/Products/Approaching-the-Standards-for-Jazz-Vocalists )



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