First off, let me just say this is my first time sending out a newsletter/blog post, so if there are any oddities you come across, please let me know and I'll do my best to try to fix them!
Phew, now that's out of the way and we can get down to business. Thank you so much for supporting my music and wanting to know about what's happening on my journey; it means more to me than you can ever know. This newsletter for March will tell you about some of the very exciting things that are happening for me, and I want to share them with you! At the end of this month I will be traveling with my fantastic vocal jazz ensemble at school, Pacific Standard Time, on a mini-tour northward to Monterey, CA to do some recruiting performances and compete in the Next Generation Jazz Festival. If we win, we'll get the honour of performing in the famous Monterey Jazz Festival in the fall.
I am also the main featured vocalist on a new recording project with The James Kōb Group, featuring original songs written in traditional and pop styles from North and South America. There will be a Kickstarter crowd-sourcing page made later to help fund the release of the album, and I will be sending out a separate e-mail to you all when that is ready. But biggest of my news is that I have been accepted as a finalist in the international jazz competition Riga Jazz Stage 2014 in the vocal competition. It takes place in Riga, Latvia, which has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2014. I will be flying to Riga, Latvia in the first week of April (the day my group is heading back from Monterey, no less!) with my original arrangements of jazz standards to perform with and for international musicians and judges, which included Latvian composer Raimond Pauls, American singer China Moses, and many other well-respected musicians and composers from eastern Europe. I am wonderfully excited to share my music, perform on an international stage, and embark on my first venture into Europe! The website for the competition is www.rigajazz.lv if you'd like to read more about it. Although I performed with my band twice earlier this month, I've forgone any more performances to allow me to focus on the tour and competition coming up, but about mid-April, my performance schedule will resume. In next month's newsletter, I'll list upcoming performances as well. Hope this message finds all of you well and if you feel like sharing this with someone who might be interested in my music, please do. And don't forget to visit my website at http://www.MariaSchafer.com for new recordings and videos from my performances. Love, Maria