NJPAC still accepting entries for Sarah Vaughan jazz competition

NEWARK, NJ — The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is still accepting entries for the 11th annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. The search is on for the next great jazz singer! Solo vocalists from around the world are encouraged to submit their entries before Tuesday, Sept. 6, by visiting www.SarahVaughanCompetition.com. In the fall, the top five finalists will be announced followed by a star-studded final performance at NJPAC. 

The Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, also known as “The SASSY Awards,” is open to singers over the age of 18, of all genders and nationalities, from anywhere in the world, and not signed by a major label. Entrants are judged on vocal quality, musicality, technique, performance, individuality, artistic interpretation and ability to swing.

On Sunday, Nov. 20, the finalists will compete at NJPAC in front of a live audience and before a distinguished panel of judges, including premier jazz violinist Regina Carter, NJPAC jazz adviser and Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride, drummer T.S. Monk, NEA jazz master Maria Schneider and WBGO Radio personality Pat Prescott. Hosted by WBGO Radio’s Gary Walker, this special event will also include performances by the 2021 co-winners of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim and Gabrielle Cavassa, and others. The first-prize winner of The SASSY Awards will receive a $5,000 cash award, second-place $1,500 and third-place $500.

The competition recalls the humble beginnings of legendary jazz singer Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990) who, back in 1942, was a Newark teenager and winner of an amateur singing contest at the Apollo Theater. That memorable night helped launch the lifework of one of the most successful, influential jazz vocalists in the history of American music.