Join us for a series of conversations with the incredibly talented young singers who’ve triumphed at NJPAC’s Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition — as well as the judges who spotted their amazing gifts. This annual contest, now in its ninth year, has propelled a whole cohort of rising jazz singers into exceptional careers.

At this NJPAC Backstage interview, we’ll have a conversation with WBGO morning show host Gary Walker, who’s served as both a judge and a host of the Sassy Awards over the years.

For 36 years, Gary has hosted the morning show every weekday at Newark’s legendary jazz station, WBGO, and his enthusiasm for the music he plays has never flagged. His love of this music flourished as he grew up outside of Detroit in the 1960s. While his peers were listening to rock, Gary sought out recordings by Miles Davis and Ramsey Lewis. As a finance major at the University of Texas, he remembers passing the campus radio station and noticing that everyone there seemed to be having so much fun. He soon abandoned finance and graduated with a degree in mass media. He moved to New York City and landed an announcer’s position on Saturday mornings at WBGO within five weeks.

Tune in for a conversation with Gary Walker about “America’s classical music,” the role of WBGO and the incredible young singers who have appeared at the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. Hear all about it at 6PM on August 25, on NJPAC’s Instagram page!

Aspiring artists can sign up to be part of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition today to compete in front of celebrity judges and a chance to win cash prizes! Register here.

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