DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University music education major and vocalist Samantha Feliciano has reached the finals of the Hartford Jazz Society’s first Emerging Jazz Artist Showcase, competing in online voting through Aug. 13, 2017, for the top prize that includes an invitation for a solo performance on the society’s 2017 River Cruise.
Feliciano is one of four young jazz artists in the online competition for the River Cruise invitation as well as a cash award. The winner will be announced at Bushnell Park in Hartford on Aug. 14 during the concluding summer concert of the society’s Paul Brown Monday Night Jazz series. The public is invited to view her performance and vote online at the Jazz Showcase finals web page at http://hartfordjazzsociety.com/emerging-jazz-artist-showcase-finals.
Feliciano, a Stratford resident who will begin her senior year this fall, has studied jazz voice at Western under the mentoring of Adjunct Professor of Music Atla DeChamplain. Her extensive studies in classical and jazz music also have included work with Co-coordinators of Jazz Studies Jamie Begian and Jimmy Greene and with Adjunct Professors Jeff Siegel and Peter Tomlinson. Her faculty adviser is Coordinator of Music Education Dr. Cory Ganschow.
This spring Feliciano appeared as a featured vocalist with Greene’s Jazz Orchestra, and she earned awards in the 2017 James Furman Honors Recital at WCSU both for solo performance in classical voice and for chamber ensemble performance with a jazz combo. She also has placed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing regional and national competitions.
Her biographical notes posted on the Jazz Showcase web page credited legendary jazz singers Sarah Vaughan and Cecile McLorin Salvant as major influences in her mastery as a performer of vocal technique, improvisation and storytelling. Her biography observed that she “first started singing in various choirs in high school as well as in her community, and she aspires to direct her own choir after college. Jazz has inspired her to challenge herself and strive to bring people together through music.”
Feliciano’s music instructors at WCSU remarked on her emergence as a technically and naturally skilled vocal performer. “Samantha has a captivating sound,” DeChamplain said. “She’s developed beautiful vocal control and creates unique and engaging interpretations of jazz standards and original compositions.”
Green observed that throughout Feliciano’s studies at Western, “Samantha has consistently shown herself to be a talented musician and an eager student. Lately, she has come into her own as a jazz vocalist and is an inspiration to students and faculty alike. She has a beautiful and flexible vocal instrument and has developed a wonderful sense of rhythm, phrasing and storytelling through lyrics.”
Begian emphasized the significant strides she has taken to become “an outstanding jazz artist” and “the embodiment of the culture we try to create at Western. I recall clearly how she came in as a raw but talented freshman music education student with a passing interest in jazz. Through her hard work and determination, she has found her voice as a jazz musician and future music educator in a remarkably short span of time.”
Feliciano’s biographical notes described her as a strong advocate for music education who currently teaches voice to students of all ages in Brookfield, Southbury and Harrison, New York. “She believes that students deserve the chance to discover music and uncover their potential to become successful musicians,” the notes said. “She wants to share her passion for music with as many people as she can.”
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.