Vocal Jazz Ensembles

Winner of TWELVE Down Beat Student Music Awards!

The Sacramento State Jazz Singers

The vocal jazz program at Sacramento State is under the new direction of Gaw Vang Williams. There are two advanced groups, Jazz Singers and C-Sus. Both groups are formed by audition and record every year. The sounds of Sac State Vocal Jazz are influenced by the great vocal jazz groups of the past and present: The Hi-Lo's, Singers Unlimited, Take 6, New York Voices, The Real Group, Manhattan Transfer and others. The program also strives to explore new and innovative approaches to contemporary vocal jazz.

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Auditions for Sacramento State University Vocal Jazz Ensembles

Auditions for Sac State Vocal Jazz groups are held throughout the summer and at the beginning of the fall semester. Sign-ups and information can be obtained by contacting Gaw Vang at gawvang@gmail.com. The audition will consist of the following:

1. Performance of a prepared song, preferably a jazz standard. Examples; "Summertime," "Autumn Leaves," "Route 66," and "My Funny Valentine" etc. You can also audition with a pop song. Please have the sheet music and/or lead sheet available at your audition. If you have questions about this requirement, feel free to email Gaw and she will help guide you. Improvisation is not required in your audition, but it never hurts to try.

2. Ear training exercises.

  1. You will hear a melodic line of three or four pitches on the piano, and you will be asked to sing them back.

  2. You will hear a chord with 3-4 notes and in no particular order will be asked to sing each individual note within that chord.

  3. You'll be given a starting pitch and asked to sing notes that are certain intervals away (up a 5th, down a minor 3rd, etc.).

3. Range testing. You'll be asked to sing major and/or minor triads from starting pitches, and your comfortable and usable voice range will be determined.

4. Quick sight-reading and part learning: You will be given a short, one-page section of a vocal jazz ensemble tune, and you'll be asked to sight-read your part along with a recording of the song. Then Gaw will work with you on the part briefly and give you another chance to read the line with the recording. Be prepared to stay focused, relaxed, and to demonstrate your flexibility and quick-learning skills, while watching your intonation and blend as well.