The Performing Arts Series presents one of the newest and most compelling jazz ensembles of our time – säje

The Performing Arts Series at the University of Nevada, Reno kicks off 2023 with a soulful performance by Grammy-nominated vocal supergroup säje (rhymes with beige).

On Thursday February 9th at 7:30pm, their smooth, jazzy vocals, backed by an all-star band, will fill the Nightingale Concert Hall with effortlessly harmonized, heartfelt expression.

This not-to-be-missed performance showcases one of the newest ensembles on the jazz scene, while also making itself one of the biggest names. While each säje member has an impressive and successful solo career, the ensemble only came together two years ago. Their first composition earned them their first Grammy nomination, and their second composition won the top prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

“I would say they’re ready to fly, but they’re already soaring and taking us to their first Reno performance this month,” explains Shoshana Zeldner, program manager at the School of the Arts.

When the four singer-composers first met in 2020, they wanted to get to know each other and maybe form an ensemble. The result was more than expected. They discovered that their voices blended and harmonized beautifully, creating a uniquely beautiful tone that ranged from loud and tinny to soft and delicate.

During this time, members Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendric and Erin Bentlage began to shape their collective identities as a vocal powerhouse. They wrote their first single, “Desert Song,” which “celebrates the freedom to tap into the limitless potential of unencumbered female collaborators,” and quickly earned a Grammy nomination.

Now, as a collaborative sisterhood, säje explores and performs music that moves them. This includes inspiring original material, popular jazz standards and fascinating reinterpretations of contemporary songs from different genres.

“In addition to their performance, we are very excited that säje will be sharing their talent with our community by hosting a master class for university vocal and jazz students,” says Zeldner.

Individual tickets to säje are $36 (adults), $34 (seniors/UNR faculty and staff), $16 (youth), and $5 (University of Nevada, Reno students).

The Performing Arts Series season continues on Thursday, March 9th at 7:30pm with vocal-percussionist-virtuoso Butterscotch, known for her unique compositions combining vocals, beatboxing, rapping, looping, piano and guitar play – often at the same time.

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