Over a decade ago, I was truly living a dream as the lead vocalist for a jazz quartet. Our little group consisted of Chuck and Jennifer Case and their wunderkind son, Dakota. Chuck and Jennifer are two of the best musicians/music teachers in the area and Dakota, still one of the best guitarists I've ever known.

At the time, Chuck was my percussion teacher and our group was a journey of discovery, exhilaration, and fulfillment. We did jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, which included songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, among others. We also performed Latin jazz and a few pop classics.

I honestly thought we had the best gig in the world! Every Friday and Saturday for almost 2 and a half years, we played at Carnaval. It was always busy and audiences were always appreciative.

One weekend, Evan Farmer, the, then, young star of a TLC network program While You Were Out was in the audience as the guest of the Sioux Empire Homebuilder's Association. He asked to meet us between sets and wanted to know why we were "playing a restaurant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota" when we should be "doing big clubs in major cities."

Another weekend, a gentleman came up to me when we were between songs and said he wanted to meet me because from the back of the room, it sounded "just like Jane Monheit was up there singing", he could see I had long hair, so he thought it was possible.

He couldn't have known how much I adored Jane Monheit's singing myself, and now I'm actually going to see her in person. Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society is bringing her to Sioux Falls, on Friday, April 26, 8 PM at the Orpheum Theater (315 N. Phillips Avenue) in downtown Sioux Falls.

This Grammy-nominated jazz wunderkind began singing professionally in high school and her trajectory has been straight up from there. Influenced and inspired by singers from Ella Fitzgerald to Judy Garland, Monheit says she "tends to sing with her heart on her sleeve", which is another thing I love about her work.

Even if you're not a jazz fan, you'll love her beautiful voice and what she can do with it! So join me for this awesome show, I'll be the one cheering at the end of the concert and trying to get her autograph!

More information and tickets available at the Washington Pavilion/Orpheum Theater online.





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