Sunny Wilkinson, Paul Stiller join student groups for Ballantyne Auditorium show
Two noted song stylists will headline the next Performing Arts production at Kirkwood Community College. The Spring Vocal Jazz Fest will feature Sunny Wilkinson and Paul Stiller in performance with Kirkwood’s award-winning Jazz Transit and RSVP groups in an 8 p.m. concert Friday, March 6 in Ballantyne Auditorium. The evening’s music will be led by Kirkwood Vocal Jazz Director Ray Salucka.
Sunny Wilkinson has taken her place in that elite group of jazz vocalists who have stretched the boundaries and found themselves “one of a kind.” Her performance credits are impressive, having sung with The Count Basie Band, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, Clark Terry, Mark Murphy, Milt Hinton, Curtis Fuller, and Edgar Winter, among others.
Wilkinson is a native of Minnesota who credits strong early influences in church settings. She performs regularly at jazz festivals and clubs across the country and is assistant professor of jazz voice at Michigan State University. She is the past president of the Michigan chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators and the past chairperson for IAJE’s Women’s Caucus. Wilkinson is also co-founder of IAJE’s Sisters in Jazz mentoring program.
Paul Stiller is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and Berklee College of Music. Stiller is part of the acclaimed a cappella vocal group Vox One, regarded as one of the leading influences in vocal jazz. Aside from his work with Vox One as producer, arranger, singer, and vocal percussionist, Stiller is also an active studio singer, keyboardist, and arranger/producer with other groups, and has worked with nationally acclaimed acts such as Club d’Elf, Rhythm Slam, and Toxic Audio. His voice can also be heard on a wide variety of commercial productions, including Sears, State Farm Insurance, Pontiac/GMC, International Trucks, and Dr. Pepper.
The festival will also feature performances by high school jazz choirs from Iowa and Wisconsin. The open performances will take place throughout the day March 6. Each performance will be followed by an on-stage “mini workshop” presented by Stiller and Wilkinson. A clinic on vocal improvisation is also planned from 1 to 2 p.m. All daytime performances and workshops are free and open to the public and will be held in Ballantyne Auditorium.
Tickets for the March 6 Vocal Jazz Fest are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students with current ID. Kirkwood faculty, staff and students are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available at the Kirkwood Student Life office, Iowa Hall on the main campus: (319) 398-5578.