Puttin' on the Ritz, an evening of Jazz and dining featuring the Jazz ensemble and Jazz artist Wendy

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Puttin’ on the Ritz, NWSA’s signature evening features award-winning
Jazz Ensemble and guest Jazz trailblazer Wendy Pedersen

  NWSA Jazz Band performance

MIAMI---On the crest of its reputation gained nationally as first place winner of New York’s prestigious Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Competition, the New World School of the Arts (NWSA) Jazz Ensemble will host and perform at its annual “Puttin’ On The Ritz” signature benefit dinner, dance and concert featuring guest artist Jazz singer Wendy Pedersen. Event is on Friday, February 27, at 7 P.M. at the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel, 5101 Blue Lagoon Drive. Reserved seating is $60 per person. Pre-dinner festivities will be launched, from 7-8 P.M. when early arrivals are invited to participate in complimentary dance lessons.

Directed by Jim Gasior, Jazz and Instrumental Studies Associate Professor at the New World School of the Arts, this year’s concert showcases the talent of South Florida’s Jazz singer and performer Wendy Pedersen.  “Wendy brings a strong commitment to the music and is a great role model for the students” commented Gasior. “She is an authority on group improvisation and has an outstanding sense of rhythm and phrasing, something that we are always seeking to develop in our students.  Critics have appreciated her approach to singing as being an organic part of a jazz ensemble – as opposed to a singer “being backed by a band”.
Wendy Pedersen’s high-energy vocal delivery, with deep, convincing emotion has been impacting audiences for many years. A graduate of the University of Miami’s Studio Music and Jazz Vocal program, Wendy began her singing career in high school and found her “jazz” calling very early in life while influenced by her mother’s old vinyl records. Among her many accolades are the Southern Bell/Pace “Jazz Artist of the Year” and a Miami New Times “best vocalist”. Wendy Pedersen’s discography includes several DC’s including her brand new release, “Under the Influence”.

Under the direction of James Gasior, director of NWSA’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band, numerous jazz students have been recognized on a national scale.  Among their most recent honors, several students have received Downbeat Student Music Awards and have been selected to perform with the High School Grammy Band in Los Angeles.

Funds raised through Puttin’ On The Ritz are used for travel expenses for the band to perform and compete at national conferences and competitions as well as for instruments and other needs that are above and beyond budgeted school funds. “This is the type of benefit that enables our students to perform at events such as the 33rd Annual International Association of Jazz Educators in New York City,” noted Gasior. “This is a prestigious event with over 8,000 jazz musicians, educators and aficionados.”

Tickets are available on NWSA’s website at www.mdc.edu/nwsa. For more information or to purchase tickets please call (305) 237-7759 or (305) 978-9542.

New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts,and it is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade College and the University of Florida.’

For information, visit www.mdc.edu/nwsa, or contact the Music Hotline at (305) 237-7855.

Photo: NWSA Jazz Band performance. Photo by Kenia Pol.
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