Shades of Blue is a vocal jazz ensemble. The primary concern of this course is artistic and creative vocal jazz for ensemble performance. Advanced solo experience, microphone techniques, and vocal improvisation are part of the course offering. Students who audition will prepare a vocal solo from the Broadway, pop vocal, or vocal jazz idiom. Students will also prepare a required repertoire selection.
Shades of Blue was conducted for many years by Duane Davis, now retired, and most recently by Dr. Stephen Barton, director of choral activities. Dr. Robin Connell, the new director of the ensemble, brings decades of experience as a pianist, vocalist, arranger and leader of her own jazz trio.
Shades of Blue has opened programs for John Houseman, Coretta Scott King, David Letterman, and Tony Bennett. The group annually participates in the Western Michigan University Gold Company Vocal Jazz Invitational and the Forest Hills Vocal Jazz Invitational. They have also performed/given workshops for the American Choral Directors Association - Michigan, and the Midwestern Music Conference at the University of Michigan.
Shades has performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators convention in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Washington, D.C. and San Antonio. The groups received the highest honor at the Canadian National Finals of MusicFest Canada, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Shades has been the guest artists at the Northshore Vocal Jazz Invitational in Cleveland. They have performed with Don Shelton (Hi Lo's/Singers Unlimited) Bob McGrath (Sesame Street), the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, as well as serving as clinic group for Phil Mattson and Bobby McFerrin. The group has appeared as guest artists at the Tiffin University Vocal Jazz and Show Festival, performed at the Collegiate Showcase in Chicago, Nashville and Orlando.
For more information about auditioning for Shades of Blue contact Dr. Stephen Barton.
Tuesday and Thursday, 3:45-4:45, Room 304c