Audition for the Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Are you an experienced Soprano or Alto singer who loves jazz?  Consider joining the advanced Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  The Vocal Jazz Ensemble is a group of eight dedicated, committed singers who love jazz and strive to perform it with a high level of attention to musical detail.  We sing challenging music, study advanced techniques, and strive for high-caliber performances.  We memorize all our music and perform one on a mic.  Most importantly, we are a creative and spirited group which values and supports one another.

We recognize that not everybody is able to meet the rigors of this particular group.  WSJ also has a more accessible, non-auditioned, mixed Jazz Choir!

Here are the qualities we are looking for in the Vocal Jazz Ensemble:

  1. Soprano or Alto voice

  2. Jazz or jazz-related experience (e.g. musical theatre, jazz solo singing, or gospel)

  3. Basic proficiency in reading music; ability to learn notes and rhythms independently

  4. An adventurous spirit

  5. Commitment to creating authentic representations of music rooted in African-American & LatinX cultures

  6. Loves working collaboratively with a team of dedicated musician-singers

  7. Passion for singing together on independent parts

  8. Openness to improvisational scat singing (or learning how to do it)

 

Audition Process

Auditions for the Vocal Jazz Ensemble consist of two main components:  1) Two prepared songs, as described below and 2) Range testing and vocalizations. 

Tip: use a backing track such as iReal Pro, Music Minus One, or similar, and bring the backing track to your audition.  
 

Prepared songs:

  1. Swing Standard:  Sing your chosen piece two or three times through, following this format: head-in (sing with no embellishment), Solo (optional, improvised scat or prepared scat), Head-out (sing with tasteful, idiomatic jazz embellishment)

  2. Latin standard OR jazz ballad:  Sing one time through.

In both pieces, you should demonstrate:

  • accuracy in rhythm and pitch

  • good expression

  • good understanding of the feel

  • solid sense of time, tone and intonation

Examples of Tunes to Prepare for your Audition. 

Swing

  • All of Me

  • Ain’t Misbehavin’

  • Autumn Leaves

  • Honeysuckle Rose

  • Mack the Knife

  • My Baby Just Cares For Me

  • Blue Skies

Latin

  • Girl from Ipanema

  • Corcovado

  • Black Orpheus

Ballad

  • My Funny Valentine

  • Summertime

  • Misty

  • Unforgettable

  • Stardust

Please contact info.wsjs@gmail.com for inquiries and/or contact the Artistic Director directly to schedule an audition. 

Expectations and commitment

The Vocal Jazz Ensemble rehearses on Tuesday evenings 6:15 to 7:55 PM in Bellingham WA, from September through May. 

Singers are expected to be able to read music, to learn notes and rhythms independently, and to memorize all their music for performances.

Each member is important to the overall sound of the group; singers are expected to be at the majority of rehearsals and all performances, which are announced well in advance.  

   

Sectionals or small group trios or quartets are organized by singers, depending on the needs in each section.   Close to performances, we often add extra rehearsals which are optional, but singers are encouraged to attend them.

Singers pay tuition twice annually for the fall and spring programs.  Tuition covers expenses such as our rehearsal venue, director, accompanist and rhythm section who are professional musicians.  We understand the financial challenges some singers may face.  Self-assessed sliding scale is available to keep tuition affordable for all.  Singers who can afford it are encouraged to give more, to help cover those who can't.

Contact  info.wsjs@gmail.com or call Michael at 360-961-1559 for more information.