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Save The Date

Come join us as we celebrate the “First Lady of Song’s” 100th birthday party here in our Nation’s Capital between April 28th-30th on the campus of George Washington University. There will be panels, programs and performances throughout the week leading up to our event with a culminating concert on the National Mall on Sunday, April 30th. It will a be a star-studded tribute honoring “Ella @ 100” throughout the city, throughout the country and throughout the world.

How To Enter

(Registration Closed 1/31/17)

Entering is easy. We have selected seven selections from the Ella Fitzgerald songbook for you to choose from. Pick two, download your charts and record yourself.  Send us the mp3 files by email, making sure to note your selections.   Registrations are due no later than midnight January 31, 2017. You will be notified in writing after February 28, 2017 whether or not you will be invited to perform in the live, final round of the competition. We will provide you with follow-up instructions if you have been chosen as one of the five finalists.   A $25 entry fee is required only for the initial first round registration.  It’s that easy!

Come Join Us

Meet the judges and celebrate with us as we commemorate the “First Lady of Song’s” 100th birthday in the Nation’s Capital between April 28th -30th on the campus of George Washington University.  The competition and its events are the culmination of the annual BigBandJam (BBJ) that includes panels, programs, and performances from April 18-30, 2017.  BBJ ends with a concert on the National Mall on Sunday, April 30th.  That concert will be  a star-studded tribute honoring “Ella @ 100” that takes place throughout the city, throughout the country and throughout the world.

  • Sponsors

    • Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
    • Wagner Foundation
    • Koster Foundation
    • Blues Alley Jazz
    • National Park Service
    • DC Federation of Musicians
  • Partners

    • Smithsonian Institution
    • Voice of America
    • Library of Congress
    • National Press Club
    • Destination DC
  • Academic Alliances

    • Howard University
    • Bowie State University
    • George Mason University
    • George Washington University
  • Media Partner

    • Jazz Times Magazine

About Us

The Ella Fitzgerald jazz vocal competition is the culmination of our non-profit Blues Alley Jazz Society youth and education programming. Our event combines our youth orchestra, summer camp and annual childrens’ jazz festival to focus on America’s “First Lady of Song”.  In honor of the “First Lady of Song’s” 100th birthday, the Blues Alley Jazz Society has partnered with some of America’s most prestigious institutions to create a unique vocal competition to honor this important contributor of American music.

The Blues Alley Jazz Society counts some of America’s most distinguished foundations, cultural and educational institutions as our principal sponsors or partners. Over the course of more than half a century, our namesake nightclub has presented some of the most formidable names within American musicana, including our vocal competition namesake Ms. Ella Fitzgerald. Ms. Fitzgerald’s contribution to the Great American Songbook extended over a total of six decades and 79 years. The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation has worked tirelessly and strenuously to also honor Ms. Fitzgerald’s lifelong commitment to American music and for that we are eternally grateful.

The Ella Fitzgerald jazz vocal competition reflects a decades-long effort in the making to return one-of-the world’s most critically acclaimed voices back to center stage. Ms. Fitzgerald was largely known as a pioneer interpreter of popular song but she was also the first female big band leader in American history. She is less well known for her humanitarian contributions worldwide and for donating to the future of American music education. This competition is intended to embrace this great American tradition on the occasion of her 100th birthday and to maintain her legacy for generations to come. We hope that you will too.