News Spotlight: “Nightingales” Fundraiser for the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival to Take Place March 21
Friday, March 14, 2014


















EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Avenue Café in Lansing’s downtown will be the backdrop for “Nightingales: An intimate Evening with Lansing’s Ladies of Jazz” – a fundraiser for the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival (SSJF) taking place on Friday, March 21 from 7-9 p.m.

Accompanied by the Reggie Wilson Trio, Lansing's purest female jazz voices will lend their talents to this special SSJF fundraising event. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $50 for VIP selected seating.

Visit for more information. Tickets are available at or by calling (517) 319-6980.
More About the Featured Performers:
Betty Baxter: Her “Satin Sounds” will captivate you. Betty is a beloved local performer, promoter and educator. She is a founding member of the Jazz Association of Mid-Michigan, a charter member of Mid?Michigan Jazz Society and has been designated a Michigan 'popular music' historian by the Michigan Historical Museum.
Twyla Birdsong: When she sets free a deep soulful note, audiences are moved by the raw talent and radiance that pours from this incredible woman. Her rich, resonant voice strikes a balance between diva and divine, making her one of Lansing’s most talented and loved vocalists since 2002.
Betty Joplin: Jackson’s own Grammy-nominated singer was also a featured vocalist for the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Shahida Nurallah: Her vocal mastery has wowed audiences from her native Detroit to New York to Paris to Amsterdam and beyond. Shahida was a vocalist for pianist Geri Allen's band "Open On All Sides” and her talent has been praised in “Downbeat” magazine, The New York Times, the Detroit Free Press and Finland’s "Rytmi” magazine.
News ReleaseMardra Thomas: A seasoned singer and actress known for her realistic interpretation of Billie Holiday. Mardra is also a featured performer on the MSU Professors of Jazz album “Better than Alright.”
Ursula Walker: Ursula received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Detroit Black Music Awards, honoring her 60?year career as a jazz vocalist in Detroit. In the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, and ‘80’s, Ursula fielded many offers to tour nationally – with the likes of Stan Kenton, the Harry James Band, Count Basie and Tony Bennett. She has opened for many well?known performers, including Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson and Tania Maria; and has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards.
About SSJF
The SSJF is presented by the City of East Lansing, Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the MSU College of Music, with artistic direction by Rodney Whitaker.
This FREE-to-the-community festival is centered around a large tent located in the heart of downtown East Lansing in Parking Lot 1, 230 Albert Ave., near the corner of Albert Avenue and Abbot Road in downtown East Lansing.
The SSJF features main stage performances, the Jazz Kids children’s activity area, onsite food, jazz cafes, the new MSU Outreach and Engagement Educational Stage and After Glow performances.



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