EDMONDS — After 42 years, the DeMiero Jazz Fest still finds ways to delight and surprise audiences.
This year’s lineup includes René Marie, whose “Sound of Red” album received a Grammy nomination, Dee Daniels, the festival’s artistic director, whose discography includes eight albums, and Seattle jazz singer Greta Matassa.
The Friday and Saturday night performances at the Edmonds Center for the Arts also will showcase Jaidyn Lam, a Seattle Academy student and this year’s Dee Daniels vocal scholarship winner; Soundsation, the Edmonds Community College jazz chorus; and the Seattle Jazz Singers, directed by Frank DeMiero.
The namesake of the annual vocal jazz fest founded Edmonds Community College’s music program.
The concerts are part of a three-day event that draws 68 middle, high school and college jazz choirs from throughout the region. The group coming the farthest this year is Vista Murrieta High School from Murrieta, California. Groups also are coming from Idaho and Spokane.
The choirs will participate in workshops, clinics and master classes with guest artists and clinicians.
Today, 10 of the choirs, including one from Lakewood High School, will participate in a new event: an intensive, all-day workshop. Groups jumped at the chance to sign up.
“The response was overwhelming,” said Rob Hyatt, chief administrative officer for the jazz fest. “We were full by the time school started last September.”
Also tonight, there will be a special performance at the North Sound Conference Center featuring those jazz choir groups, each performing one song.
Since the high school’s opening in 2009, the choir program has struggled, with no program available during the 2015-16 school year.
Director Nancy Erickson joined the school the following school year, building it into a 57-member group.
It’s the choir’s first trip to the jazz festival, with the Hauser scholarship paying the registration fees.
The idea that launched the annual festival was “to find the best people to work with the students and find a way of making sure they get an exemplary experience,” DeMiero said.
That tall order has continued throughout the festival’s 40-plus years of performances.
The musicians have to be able to communicate their knowledge to students of all ages, DeMiero said.
Since its inception, the festival was designed to be non-competitive, a place where vocalists and musicians could simply find joy in their performances.
“The one thing I know is there a camaraderie in music,” DeMiero said. “When it becomes yours in music is when you practice and practice, and all of a sudden it comes naturally.”
The Friday and Saturday night performances will showcase the festival’s guest artists. Matassa will perform Friday evening.
Featured performers Daniels, Lam and Marie will be accompanied by the DeMiero Jazz Fest All-Star Band. The group’s members are Bruce Forman on guitar, Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax on drums, Josh Nelson on the piano and Paul Beaudry on bass.
Nelson was Natalie Cole’s accompanist. “He is truly one of the best jazz pianists,” DeMiero said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
A special concert featuring 10 high school choirs attending the jazz festival is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 1 at the North Sound Conference Center (the former Edmonds Conference Center), 201 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds. Tickets cost $20 and are available at the door.
Two concerts March 2 and 3 are scheduled at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds. Both begin at 7 p.m. Performers include René Marie, Dee Daniels, Seattle Jazz Singers, Soundsation and 2018 Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz Scholarship recipient Jaidyn Lam. General admission to each concert is $35 for open seating, $25 for students under 21 and $70 for VIP seating. Visit www.edmondscenterforthearts.org/tickets-events or call 425-275-9595 for more information.