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.
NEW RECORDED AUDITION FORMAT
1. State your name (not your school) and voice part.
2. *Scales (Scale examples)
B. Blues (1, b3, 4, #4, 5, b7, 8)
*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
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.
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/