Jazz Voice

Vocalists pursuing Jazz Studies degrees study the traditions and techniques of vocal jazz performance (both solo and group), jazz improvisation, keyboard skills, theory and jazz arranging.

The Mason Jazz Studies department hosts multiple master classes a year for students and jazz community. Artists include Eric Alexander, Peter Erskine, Doc Severinsen, Peter Bernstein, Byron Stripling, Bobby Floyd, Bria Skonberg, Alexis Cole, Stockton Helbing, and more. Spring 2020, we are excited to host American composer, Jazz Orchestra leader and multiple Grammy award-winner, Maria Schneider.

Mason Jazz in Brazil! March 2020, Mason Jazz will travel to São Paulo, Brazil for educational outreach events and performances at UNICAMP, Projeto GURI and musical venues. Learn more about this program: Mason Jazz in Brazil


JAZZ ENSEMBLES – Open to all University students, regardless of major, based on audition


JAZZ ENSEMBLE AUDITIONS – Spring 2021 (current Mason students) 

  • Vocalists:  Sing one song of your choice (jazz preferred), sight-read a solo musical line and sing a brief tonal melody test. Please bring your own musical accompaniment/backing track for either iPod, Phone or CD player.
  • Visit the SEATING PLACEMENT AUDITIONS page to sign up for an audition.
  • If all audition slots are filled, please e-mail Dr. Darden Purcell


Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble – Voice of Reason CD promo. Video by Mason Music alumnus, David Scalea.

Voice of Reason and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Swing can be purchased at amazon or email Dr. Darden Purcell at dpurcel2@gmu.edu for hard copies.


The Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble was awarded “Outstanding Ensemble” at the Kansas City Jazz Summit, April 2016, hosted by John Stafford at KCKCC. “Outstanding Musicianship” awards were also given to Kyra Larson, Sarah Moyers, Huy Ngo and Khanh Ngo.

Members of the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble sang back-up vocals for indie pop star BEN FOLDS for three shows in 2014!  Performances were with the Virginia Beach Symphony (Sandler Center), National Symphony Orchestra (Wolf Trap) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Meyerhoff Symphony Hall).