The 2020 edition of the 4th annual Ella Fitzgerald Competition launched on Friday, November 1st as a component of our 16th annual BIG BAND JAM!. The theme of the competition will be composer/lyricist Johnny Mercer and we will distribute charts and lead sheets from the 1964 recording “Ella Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook”. The competition is open to male and female singers, ages 17 through 25. Our distinguished judges will be Darden Purcell, Charenee Wade and Jessica Boykin-Settles of George Mason, Peabody Institute and Howard University respectively. The five charts selected will be as follows:
- Early Autumn
- Midnight Sun
- I Remember You
- Day In, Day Out
- This Time The Dream’s On Me
Each completed registrant will receive five (5) charts. Of the five (5) charts you will then select two (2) lead sheets, compile audio recordings and submit them no later than January 31, 2020.
The final competition will occur on Saturday, April 25, 2020 at Blues Alley Jazz in Washington, DC and which would have been Ella Fitzgerald’s 103rd birthday. Over the past three years there have been an average of 50 registrations, a total high of 30 submissions but always five (5) finalists. The final competition will occur simultaneously with the 16th annual BIG BAND JAM! on the National Mall between April 24-26, 2020. Our artist-in-residence will be internationally-renowned pianist Makoto Ozone and he will be performing in trio and large ensembles. The competition and the big band are free and open to the public.