Award-winning jazz singer heads to Montreux festival | June 6, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - June 6, 2012

Award-winning jazz singer heads to Montreux festival

by Jane Knoerle

Jenna Scandalios of Portola Valley is a winner. Last year, the 17-year-old Menlo-Atherton High School junior, singing with the school's advanced jazz band, won the vocal soloist competition at the Reno Jazz Festival and the vocal soloist award from the Anaheim Heritage Music Festival. She also received the Diamond Award for Young Artists from the Peninsula Arts Council.

Now, she's going international. In July she will participate in the semifinals in the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

After sending in a recording of three songs and a music resume, Jenna was one of 11 singers from 11 countries chosen for the semifinals in Montreux. She will sing before a panel of judges, presided over by Quincy Jones, who will select three finalists. The winner will record an album.

Jenna was turned on to jazz in the sixth grade, when she started singing in the choir at Corte Madera School. However, she says, "I've grown so much as a vocalist with the jazz band."

She has been a singer with the advanced band for three years and a lead vocalist for the past two years. The band, which includes about 25 members, rehearses almost every day. Her fellow musicians are enthusiastic about her trip to Switzerland, reminding her to "bring back chocolate."

Jenna and fellow jazz band lead vocalist Christina Takayama co-founded an M-A club called "Melodies for Charities," where members sing at local farmers' markets to raise money for local charities. The girls are also working towards singing for patients at Stanford Medical Center.

For Jenna, it isn't all about music. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, and plays on the M-A varsity tennis team.

Is she planning to major in music in college? Probably not, although she says music will always be an important part of her life. "I hope to keep a balance between music and academics," she says.


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