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Blues Alley Jazz Society to Present Fourth Annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition on April 24

Frank Hammel • News • April 12, 2021

The Blues Alley Jazz Society noted that it will be presenting the fourth annual Ella Fitzgerald international jazz vocal competition on Saturday, April 24 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

More details from the Blues Alley Jazz Society (

WASHINGTON, DC, April 12, 2021—The competition was founded in 2017 to honor Amer- ica’s “First Lady of Song” on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Now in its fourth year the competition pays tribute to Ms. Fitzgerald’s body of musical work as we similarly pay tribute to composer/arranger/lyricist Johnny Mercer. We chose the iconic 1964 recording “Ella Sings Mercer” and asked the contestants to submit three song selections from that recording.

The contestants were narrowed down to five finalists from a field of 65 submissions. The five finalists are: Lucy Wijnands (US) Naledi Masilo (South Africa), Ariana Stefanidis (US), Atrin Madani (Germany) and Taisha Estrada (US). Each of the five finalists have pursued their higher learning from such diverse academia as City College (NY), University of Cape Town (S.A.), George Mason University (WDC), SUNY – Purchase (NY) and the Jazz Institute (Berlin). They each mastered the intricacies of melody, harmony and verse with their own distinctive stylings as they continue to pursue their careers in jazz vocal music. Individually and collec- tively they have contributed their growing expertise of music through performance locally,

nationally and internationally. They will each be given a 10-minute segment to present their own pre-recorded performance to our three distinguished panel of judges.

Our panel of judges is comprised of Alison Crockett (George Washington University), Darden Purcell (George Mason University) and Jessica Boykin-Settles (Howard University). Our three judges will then withdraw to confer where they will select the finalists from one-to-five in their overall vocal abilities. At 6:00 pm the awards will be announced and the prizes deliv- ered to the finalists. A concert celebrating the competition’s namesake and performed by our three judges will be broadcast at 8:00 pm with a pre-show interview beginning at 7:30 pm. There will also be a pre-interview performance by the Blues Alley Youth Combo under the musical direction of Mr. Michael Bowie.

For further information and details please call: 202-544-3230 or visit

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