Thursday, August 30, 2018

Time Is Running Out to Enter The 7th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

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Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition

WHEN: Deadline is Wednesday, September 5
Vocalists are invited to submit applications online at by 5 PM

Vocalists—16 years old or older, and who are not presently signed to a major record label—can enter by submitting recordings of at least three songs at at The public can vote for their favorites; songs have been played, commented on, and voted for, hundreds of thousands of times over the course of the competition's existence. The judges are looking for vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation—and the ability to swing. The grand prize winner of the coveted SASSY Award will receive a $5,000 cash prize.

For the seventh consecutive year, singers from around the world will gather online to compete in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (aka the "SASSY" Awards) -- a 21st century version of the amateur night at the Apollo Theater that helped launch the career of a gifted teenager from Newark, Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan, more than 75 years ago. The deadline to enter this year's competition is Wednesday, September 5 at 5pm.

The competition at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) was originally created for women, and was opened to male vocalists for the first time last year. The Arts Center presents the contest as part of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival supported by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank® (November 3-18)—an autumn celebration that fills both the NJPAC campus and venues throughout Newark with every kind of jazz.

"Sarah Vaughan's artistry is timeless and irreplaceable. The great joy of this jazz vocal competition is discovering the extraordinary voices who will carry her legacy forward," said John Schreiber, NJPAC's President and CEO.

"We're thrilled that every season hundreds of singers from around the world, each in their unique way, advance the future of the music by entering this competition," he added. "We couldn't be happier that Sarah Vaughan continues to inspire musicians and music lovers via the SASSY Awards."

"'Sassy' had a divine voice that inspired so many people throughout her career up to today. Her instrument, the voice, is the basis for the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Opening the competition to all voices, regardless of gender, seemed like the natural progression," said Tony- and Grammy-winning singer DeeDee Bridgewater, who served as a judge during the contest's initial round in 2012.

The competition has become a platform for a single outstanding jazz singer to gain widespread recognition in the music industry. Past winners include Cyrille Aimée, Jazzmeia Horn (winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Competition), Ashleigh Smith, Arianna Neikrug, Deelee Dubé, and last year's winner, Quiana Lynell.

The only international vocal competition of its kind, the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition culminates in a rousing performance by the five finalists on Nov. 18, at the conclusion of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival.

Five finalists, who will be announced on Oct. 12, will perform at NJPAC before a panel of judges that includes multi-Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor; six-time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist-composer Nnenna Freelon; Mary Ann Topper, President of the Jazz Tree, Inc. artist management; WBGO Jazz 88.3FM personality Sheila Anderson, and trumpeter, conductor and composer Jon Faddis.

The incomparable singer Sarah Vaughan was born in Newark in 1924 and was known as "Sassy" throughout her life for her vibrant personality. After winning the top prize of $10 at the Apollo Theater's amateur night at age 18 in 1942, she went on to record with the greatest names in jazz, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine and countless others.

The 2018 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition finals will take place on Sunday, November 18 at 3pm in NJPAC's intimate Victoria Theater. Tickets on sale now at, or 1.888.GO.NJPAC (1.888.466.5722).

About TD James Moody Jazz Festival

The TD James Moody Jazz Festival, co-produced by NJPAC and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM and sponsored by TD Bank, was inaugurated in 2012 and named in recognition of the jazz saxophone virtuoso from Newark. TD Bank is excited to sponsor the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, where families can enjoy extraordinary, live musical performances while also experiencing the TD Bank brand. At TD, we believe that investing in and enriching our communities is both a privilege and a responsibility.

NJPAC's annual celebration of "America's classical music" is a spree of more than two dozen concerts and related activities - over half of which are free to the community. Guided by Christian McBride, NJPAC's Jazz Advisor, the festival has presented artists such as The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, Sérgio Mendes, Bill Charlap, Esperanza Spalding, Fantasia, Chris Botti, Pat Metheny, and the Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette trio, among many others.

The TD James Moody Jazz Festival is intrinsic to Newark, a city renowned as the home and creative inspiration for jazz geniuses including Sarah Vaughan, Wayne Shorter and pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith, and institutions such as Savoy Records, the Rutgers-Newark Institute of Jazz Studies and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM. Among the festival's unique events are One on One with Christian McBride, a concert-and-conversation series featuring jazz's top talents; Dorthaan's Place Sunday jazz brunches at the Arts Center's NICO Kitchen + Bar; and a schedule of concerts and special attractions held off-campus throughout Newark.