ADJUDICATION

Academic Partners – Each year the Ella Fitzgerald Competition selects an academic partner from throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area to cross-promote our educational programming. The Nation’s Capital possesses a significant number of academic partners that excel under the jazz education pedagogy including both vocal and instrumental programming. Our 2022 academic partner will be the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia is under the musical direction Mr. James Carroll.
 

Action Dates – The commencement for all registrants will occur on November 1, 2021 and conclude on January 31, 2022. Judges will review and arbitrate all vocal submissions with their subsequent deadline to decide and to reduce our audio submissions to five finalists no later than February 28th. Each registrant shall  receive a confirmation upon receipt of registry.
 

Deadline – All registrant submissions shall be aggregated by our third party Program Coordinator; processed and distributed to our three independent judges who shall then adjudicate each submission according to a codified list of vocal protocols. This process will commence on February 28th and the results released the first week of March, 2022.

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Darden Purcell

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Lena Seikaly

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Irene Jalenti

 

Darden Purcell

Darden Purcell is an active featured soloist with symphony orchestras, big bands and small ensembles, band leader and vocal instructor. Ms. Purcell has shared the stage with many top jazz artists including Eric Alexander, Terell Stafford, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Jim Pugh, Alan Baylock, Byron Stripling, Bobby Floyd, Darmon Meader, Jim Carroll Charlie Young, Chris Vadala, Glenn Wilson, Shawn Purcell, the  Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, US Navy Band Commodores, USAF Airmen of Note, US Army Blues and the American Festival Pops Orchestra, performing at concert halls and clubs nationally and internationally, including Blues Alley (DC), Club Bonafide (NYC), Bop Stop, JazzB (Sao Paulo, Brazil), The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Kitchen Cafe, Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts (NSO) and The Kennedy Center (back-up vocals for Mr. George Benson, Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and Caroline Shaw). Dr. Purcell is the Director of Jazz Studies at George Mason University.

 

 

Lena Seikaly

A fixture on the D.C. jazz scene for more than a decade, vocalist and DC area-native Lena Seikaly is already making her mark in national and international jazz circles as a revivalist of traditional jazz vocals, as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. She was one of eleven semi-finalists for the prestigious 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in L.A., is an alum of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in DC, the Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride, and the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence program in Maryland. Both as a bandleader and featured artist, Lena has headlined at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai (China), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Strathmore Music Center, Blues Alley, the Hamilton, West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage, Sidney Harman Hall, various Smithsonian venues and DC’s famed Westminster Church, as well as the Elkhart Jazz Festival (Elkhart, IN), Mel Bay Jazz Festival (St. Louis, MO), Chestertown Jazz Festival (Chestertown, MD), DC Jazz Festival (Washington, DC), and Center City Jazz Festival (Philadelphia, PA). She has performed alongside Byron Stripling, Christian McBride, Sean Jones, Cyrus Chestnut, Norman Simmons, Walter Blanding, Michael Feinstein, Duduka da Fonseca, and various big bands including the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, U.S. Army Blues, Capitol Bones Big Band, and the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. As an avid educator and workshop instructor, she has taught privately and led regular workshops on jazz vocals at the Strathmore Music Center, served as the jazz vocal instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts during 2008-09, and currently teaches privately in Washington, DC. Lena is also a classically-trained operatic mezzo-soprano, having studied at the University of Maryland School of Music under the instruction of François Loup. She was the first-place winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters’ 2008 DC chapter opera competition, and continued to win fifth place at the national competition in Bloomington, IN. She is very active in the DC area as a professional classical mezzo-soprano, and regularly performs as a soloist alongside the city's top orchestras and choirs, having been featured in works by Handel, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Durufle, Vaughn Williams, Barber and Bernstein, as well as 20th century and early sacred music. As an arranger, Lena had the unique privilege of being commissioned to arrange a suite of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music for a 16-piece version of the New Orchestra of Washington, which premiered in 2012.

 

 

Irene Jalenti   

IBorn into a family of illustrious Italian musicians, Irene Jalenti has followed a singular creative path as a jazz vocalist, songwriter and arranger drawing on an international array of kindred musical currents. Possessing a strikingly rich cello-like tone, she’s equally impressive improvising a scat solo or interpreting a song with soulful intensity (across five languages). While her sound is often compared to international legends like Nina Simone, Mercedes Sosa, and Beth Carvalho, her phrasing, repertoire and poetic sensibility are all her own. A creative force on Baltimore’s jazz scene since 2010, Jalenti turned the pandemic-induced hiatus into artist retreat, composing and arranging a gorgeous set of material for her 2021 debut album Dawn featuring guest stars Sean Jones (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Warren Wolf (vibraphone).  Irene earned a BM from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the John's Hopkins, a MM from Howard University,  and she is currently a faculty at Syracuse University where she teaches Jazz and Commercial voice and directs the jazz ensemble Orange Collective.Born into a family of illustrious Italian musicians, Irene Jalenti has followed a singular creative path as a jazz vocalist, songwriter and arranger drawing on an international array of kindred musical currents. Possessing a strikingly rich cello-like tone, she’s equally impressive improvising a scat solo or interpreting a song with soulful intensity (across five languages). While her sound is often compared to international legends like Nina Simone, Mercedes Sosa, and Beth Carvalho, her phrasing, repertoire and poetic sensibility are all her own. A creative force on Baltimore’s jazz scene since 2010, Jalenti turned the pandemic-induced hiatus into artist retreat, composing and arranging a gorgeous set of material for her 2021 debut album Dawn featuring guest stars Sean Jones (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Warren Wolf (vibraphone).  Irene earned a BM from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the John's Hopkins, a MM from Howard University,  and she is currently a faculty at Syracuse University where she teaches Jazz and Commercial voice and directs the jazz ensemble Orange Collective.