After three years, Vocal Jazz Night is making a comeback stronger than ever


Payton Dailey

Choir teacher Sean Ivory and some of the current members of Central Singers before one of their performances last year.

For the first time in three years, Central Singers will be attending Vocal Jazz Night, a one-day event at the Fine Arts Center on Oct. 20, giving choirs from different schools a chance to come together and participate in a clinic during the day and later perform a concert in the evening. 

Because senior Payton Dailey has never gone to Vocal Jazz Night due to the unfortunate cancellations throughout her high school experience, she is thrilled for what it has to offer this year. 

“I’m excited,” Payton said. “I like doing these fun little adventures, but I don’t know what it will hold. I think it will be fun [because] we all have Mr. Ivory.” 

The Central Singers tend to perform a diverse arrangement of Jazz pieces selected by choir teacher Sean Ivory. This year, one of the songs chosen for Vocal Jazz Night is loved by the entire class, including Payton.

“We’re singing one of our favorite songs again [this year,]” Payton said. [The song is called] ‘Chili Con Carne.’”

Being a new experience, everyone, not only those in Central Singers, is encouraged to attend. For those required to attend, however, such as sophomore Keegan Redmond, the experience can be slightly nerve-racking.

Prior to high school, Keegan was a part of the choir and then later decided to audition for Central Singers due to persuasion from his friends. His first few weeks with the group have overall been a memorable experience. 

“I’m excited,” Keegan said. “We’re singing some pretty challenging songs, which is a little scary, but I think we’re going to do well.”

Even though this is Keegan’s first time attending Vocal Jazz Night, he is glad he gets to experience it surrounded by his friends and is curious as to what the event will be like. 

But, according to Ivory, since the last time the event was held, a lot of alterations have been made. One of them is shortening the concert to make it more enjoyable for everyone.

“It was difficult to be there for that entire three-hour period,” Ivory said. “It was great to hear what all the groups were doing, but there became a point where you were saturated and you just needed to not hear any more music. I am really looking forward to the new format [because when] you’re at a concert, or really any kind of event, you want to leave wanting more; I would always leave wanting less.” 

“Vocal Jazz Night is a celebration of the art. It’s a way of celebrating that style because it’s different from the other groups that the kids are in.

— Sean Ivory

Along with all of the singing and preparation, Vocal Jazz Night is also a way for singers to not only work with other choirs from other schools but also to grow as singers. Students get the chance to experience growth by learning about new methods that they can use within the classroom. 

“[Throughout the clinics, directors will] speak about topics like vocal improvisation, which is where you make stuff up on the spot, circle singing, [and] different warmups and techniques that you can use with your jazz group,” Ivory said.

From singing and collaborating to eventually performing with other choirs across different schools, there is no denying that excellent teamwork is happening there. But if there was one aspect that Ivory had to pick about Vocal Jazz Night that makes it so memorable each year, it would be the diversity of music that students are exposed to. 

“[Vocal Jazz Night] is a celebration of the art,” Ivory said. “[It’s] a certain kind of singing that all of the choirs that go there are doing and a way of celebrating that style because it’s different from the other groups that the kids are in like chorale and treble chorus and concert choir. They all do different kinds of literature and this is a very specific kind of singing that [gives us] a chance to hear [a] lot of different groups perform.”