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NYC’s Samara McLendon Wins 8th Sarah Vaughan International Competition

Runners-up for the jazz vocal contest are Italy's Daniela Spalletta and Lithuania's Viktorija Gečytė

Samara McLendon, winner of the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition
Samara McLendon, winner of the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (photo courtesy of NJPAC)

On Sunday, Nov. 4, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)’s Victoria Theater in Newark, N.J., Samara McLendon—born and raised in the Bronx and a junior in the jazz studies program at SUNY Purchase—took top honors in the 8th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (also known as the SASSY Awards).

Selected from more than 600 initial submissions, McLendon was one of five finalists who performed before a live audience and a judging panel consisting of bassist Christian McBride, vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jane Monheit, WBGO radio host Monifa Brown, and producer Matt Pierson.

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