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Seattle JazzED and The Sound of the Northwest collaborate on a new gospel choir program

Vanessa Bruce.png
Vanessa Bruce
Seattle JazzED
SONW Artistic Director Vanessa Bruce will lead the Seattle JazzED Intergenerational Choir.

The new intergenerational gospel choir program from Seattle JazzED and The Sound of the Northwest will explore gospel, folk and American roots music through a vocal ensemble.

Founded in 1987 by Juan Huey-Ray, The Sound of the Northwest (SONW) gospel choir focuses on preserving and presenting the music of Black American heritage, specifically African American spirituals.

There are a handful of choirs nationwide that focus on this particular repertoire. SONW is the only such choir in the Seattle area.

Seattle JazzED's mission is to offer every student an excellent music education based in jazz, a quintessentially Black American art form.

"We are excited to enter a collaboration with Seattle JazzED to encourage music exploration in a choir setting," SONW Artistic Director Vanessa Bruce said in a JazzED press release.

Bruce noted the theme for this year's choir will be "History, Her-story, Their-Story: Music from Different Perspectives." The focus will be on music from female composers of color.

"Jazz has its roots in African music and rhythms, spirituals, blues, and gospel," Bruce explained. "Our repertoire will include these genres, as well as socially relevant music of today."

Participation in gospel choir is open to all ages from 14 to adult. There is no upper age cap and no prior choral or voice experience is required.

The program is open to any community member, with sliding-scale tuition and tuition waivers available. Classes will be held weekly from January to June.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.
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