FOLKS, WE HAVE A WINNER!!! Our 1st place winner in our 4th annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition is Lucy Wijnands of Kansas City Missouri. Ms. Wijnands beat out 64 other submissions and her four fellow finalists to become our winner of the Ella Fitzgerald Competition award. Her final song selections were “Dearly Beloved”, “Laura” and “Too Marvelous for Words” by lyricist Johnny Mercer and previously sung by America’s “First Lady of Song”. The competition was conducted virtually on April 24th at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Her fellow finalists were Taisha Estrada (Washington, DC), Atrin Madani (Berlin, Germany), Ariana Stefanidis (New York, NY) and Naledi Masilo (South Africa). Ms, Estrada garnered the second-place winner with the three 3rd place finalists. The broadcast was viewed around the world on three continents, hundreds of viewers with countless viewers interacting in our virtual chat room simultaneously with the finalists.

  • Sponsors

    • The Speyer Foundation
    • Marinus and Minnie B. Koster Foundation
    • The Wagner Family Charitable Foundation
    • National Park Service
    • George Washington University
    • Music Performance Trust Funds
    • DC Federation of Musicians
    • Blues Alley Jazz
  • Partners

    • Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
    • National Press Club
    • Events DC
    • Jazz Education Network
    • US Army
  • Academic Alliances

    • Peabody Institute
    • George Mason University
    • Howard University
  • Media Partner

    • JazzEd Magazine
    • WERA-FM Radio

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” 103rd 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 102nd birthday and to maintain her legacy for generations to come. We hope that you will too.