Spring and Summer Preview

Here's what's on the docket so far for spring and summer:


Apr 22: Songs at the Center TV Taping

I'm so honored to be sharing the stage with Todd Burge, Bob Thompson, and Eric Gnezda for a taping of Songs at the Center, which is viewed on over 150 American Public Television stations. We'll be sharing originals in the round. This performance is free and open to the public, thanks to the Ohio Arts Council, and is part of the new Brick Street Arts Bash that's happening that weekend in Marietta. More info here.

May 20: Soloist with River Cities Symphony Orchestra

I'll be the guest soloist for the River Cities Symphony Orchestra Pops Concert, singing some hits from mid-century musical theatre.  

Aug 23: Jess Baldwin Quintet at Lakeside Chautauqua 

My quintet will be performing at lovely Lakeside Chautauqua! I'm excited to be performing again with Sean Parsons, Ryan Kennedy, Andy Hall, and our newest addition, John Inghram.


Columbus Sessions

I'll be in Columbus the second weekend of each month. If you're a gigging singer in the Columbus area, click here to schedule a spot.

May 16: 1 Year Anniversary of Commercial Voice Resources Launch

May 16 will mark a year since the launch of my website Commercial Voice Resources, which is for teachers who work with singers in commercial and popular styles. I'm excited about the great master teachers slated to write guest blogs and do interviews for the coming year. 

June 4: Presenting at Voice Foundation Symposium

The Voice Foundation is an international organization made up of voice scientists, doctors, therapists, teachers, and other professionals. At its annual Symposium, I'm presenting the results of two surveys I'm conducting with Kat Reinhert and Matt Edwards. Through this research, we hope to....

  • encourage the study and performance of popular genres of music.
  • help high school and private music educators better understand the programs when advising college-bound music students.
  • help post-secondary institutions better prepare future educators (particularly voice teachers) to teach in the programs.

June 14-17: Presenting at Association for Popular Music Education Conference

APME exists to empower music educators who include popular music in their curriculums. I'll present the two popular music program studies at this conference, and I'll also be giving a vocal technique workshop.

July 15-20: Teaching Assistant at The New CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute

The CCM Institute provides a foundation of instruction for people who sing and teach voice in contemporary commercial genres of music (non-classical music). Most college programs only teach classical singing, and the CCM Institute is one of the few programs where the science and voice function behind other genres is taught. I've studied at this institute since 2009, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it this year.


Jess Baldwin Quintet @ Peoples Bank Theatre

I'm very excited to be performing again with Andy Hall, Steven Heffner, Ryan Kennedy, and Sean Parsons; and I'm extra-excited to be performing with them in Marietta, Ohio's beautifully restored Peoples Bank Theatre! This will be an intimate cabaret-style setup with table seating on the stage. A buffet and cash bar are provided, and the first drink's on the house.

An evening with the JBQ is a jazz-influenced homage to the many genres I enjoy, including arrangements of songs from artists like Björk, Weezer, Bach, Samuel Barber, and more. Here's a taste of our sound:

Buy tickets here.

If you want to share the event with your friends via Facebook, here's the Facebook event link.

The Humble but Powerful Wizard

This past Saturday at Peoples Bank Theatre's Colony Short Film Fest, my partner Andy Hall gave a preview of his feature film Arcadia to the cast, crew, and community in Marietta who helped it come to life. It's hard to describe just what a feat that is, how amazing it was, and how proud I am, but I'll try.

When we met 10 years ago, Andy was a film buff with a childhood dream of making movies, but he didn't own a good camera until 5 years later. He taught himself how to do everything through YouTube videos, online forums, and chatting with professionals in the field. Two years after buying his first camera, Andy released a stop-motion film called The Stone, which was quickly picked up for distribution by ShortsHD TV. He made it all by himself in our basement over the course of a year.

Soon after The Stone was complete, he started working on what he thought would be his first short film. It turned into his first feature, ArcadiaArcadia took about two years to complete from concept to first viewing. It happened on a shoestring crowdfunded budget with two years' worth of Andy's evenings and weekends and thousands of hours donated by volunteers.

To illustrate the impact that Andy has had on me as a person and an artist as I watched him make this movie, I want to tell you about The Fool and The Magician.

Andy and I both enjoy the art and symbolism of tarot cards. We don't really buy into the divination that some people use them for, but we have several decks in the house with different styles of art that we enjoy, and we like learning and talking about their meanings. The cards are like a deconstructed story, and we're drawn to certain cards like we're drawn to certain characters or themes in stories. Andy's favorite card has always been The Fool, which represents spontaneity, humor, starting new adventures, and taking the "foolish" path of following your dreams and doing things that initially seem impossible. (Not surprisingly, the card shows up in different ways in Arcadia.) My favorite card is The Magician, which represents taking action, contentiousness, focus, concentration, and power. Each card neatly summarizes our individual approaches to our art and our life. 

As I've watched Arcadia and other pieces of Andy's work come to life, I've learned that Andy's philosophy of The Fool affords him a kind of power that The Magician can never have. The focus and concentration of The Magician often causes her to miss the powerful and beautiful options outside of her scope of vision. Inspired by Andy, I've been learning to let The Fool's philosophy guide my work and life more so that I can remain open to experiences outside my scope of knowledge, connect with other artists, and have a lot more fun. 

Andy's philosophy as The Fool is just a mask for his power as The Magician. He prefers to work his magic when no one's paying attention so his viewers get to experience the sensation that The Fool loves so much: surprise. So, when Executive Producer Zane Lazer called Andy "the humble but powerful wizard," on Saturday night, I couldn't help grinning from ear to ear. Truer words could not have been spoken, and the proof was in the stunning beauty of what was on the screen. Here are just a few stills:

Here's the rest of Zane's introduction from Saturday, which was absolutely perfect:

I’m Dr. Zane Lazer, a local ophthalmologist and the executive producer of Arcadia. I am very excited to introduce this film and very honored to be invited to help bankroll this concourse of phantasmagoric light and shadows as imagined by the humble but powerful wizard, Andy Hall. You are about to experience a candlelit kaleidoscope containing the hidden talents and secret spaces of Marietta.

For those of you who are planning to make your own movie and don’t know Marietta well, we have many mysterious locations, we have many quaint antique shops for props, and we have a underground community of artists that is enthusiastic and growing every year (and in this film, the community is literally underground).

My wife and I moved to Marietta over 15 years ago from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and friends thought that we would be starving in the cultural wilderness... Far from it. I can honestly say that Marietta’s cultural community has gotten better bigger stronger every year. In a small town, you can be a doctor or lawyer or small businessman and have a profound impact on your community through supporting the arts. I wouldn’t have had that sort of opportunity in NYC. I would encourage my colleagues in the professional and business world of Marietta to get more involved in funding the arts in Marietta.

This film is the product of a group of newcomers to the art and business of filmmaking. They learned how to raise funds through crowdfunding, they learned new techniques as they shot the film. The film started as a figment of Andy’s imagination sparked by the news that the Colony Theatre was being renovated. Andy realized that the decrepit and spooky old building presented a spectacular location for a movie... and he had to hurry, because the construction crew was on the way. He used the eerie low light conditions of the unrestored theatre and underground locations throughout the town and used new high tech HD cameras that can shoot in extremely low light conditions. What began as a guerrilla short film shot in extremely tough conditions became a feature length movie which engulfed a year of Andy Hall’s life and inspired the entire art community of Marietta.

You will be guided on this tour of Andy’s Stygian Fantasia by Marietta’s artists and performers and the tour will include vivid unearthly imagery, a compelling adventure in Marietta’s secret spaces, and a tour of the deepest recesses of the labyrinthine mind of Andy Hall.
— Zane Lazer

I'm so happy that I was able to give time and energy to Arcadia between my own projects, and it was an honor to be a part of this wonderful work with this wonderful man.

P.S. - I want to thank Andy for never, ever...not even once...asking me to take time or energy away from my music and my career to help him with his project. He genuinely loves that he has a partner who has her own art and career, and he refuses to sap my resources away from my work. I am filled with gratitude for having him as a partner.

P.S.S. - If you missed the community preview, there will be other showings at other times. Follow the Arcadia page on Facebook to get updates on festivals, showings, and distribution. 

Jess in July

Hey everyone! Here's a quick review of the past month.

July 10: Recording at Peachfork

Recording has become a very important goal for me this year, so I'm slowly putting together one track at a time as I can afford studio time.

Bernie Nau at Peachfork Studios has been so great to work with. The drive to the studio is through beautiful southeast Ohio, so I get a chance to center and relax before I go in.

Right now, I'm recording tunes that I performed as part of the American Traditions Competition in February. This month, we re-recorded the vocals on the country tune and did most of the mixing, so we have it pretty close to release. We also did a little work on "Two Sleepy People." Needs some more tweaking before we start mixing. 


July 17: Jazz and Rib Fest in downtown Columbus

My quartet was invited to play the Jazz Cafe Stage. We had a great crowd who stuck around despite intermittent rain showers and heat waves. The stage was right by the river with the city skyline behind us. Great setting. Hope we'll be there again.

I shared the stage with the wonderful Andy Hall and Ryan Kennedy. Our usual bass player, Steve Heffner, wasn't available that weekend, but that gave us the opportunity to play with Craig Burletic, who graciously stepped in while he was in the midst of moving to Miami. Craig graduated from Marshall last year with a degree in Jazz Studies. He moved to Miami right after the gig, then flew right back with his girlfriend Molly so they could both play on Mountain Stage with Tyler Childers & The Food Stamps. Have a great time in Miami, Craig! Hope to play together again soon!


July 20-24: CCM Institute

July is always one of my favorite months because it's when I attend the Contemporary Commercial Music Voice Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah Conservatory. The CCMI opens me to the expansiveness of human experience, both in myself and in others, and not just in the world of singing. 

I first attended in 2009, getting my certification in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method in Levels I, II, and III. After getting my master's in voice pedagogy, which, in almost every academic institution, is focused on classical singing, I wanted to know the science and methods behind other singing styles. Not only did I find that information, but I found a great community of people. 

There were 18 different countries represented at the Institute this year. I hung out with people from Israel, Colombia, Australia, Taiwan, Chile, Brazil, and Canada, just for starters. There is an enormous need and desire for the kind of work that Jeanie is doing, so people travel huge distances to be here. 

At CCMI, I've heard Brazilian folk music, Brazilian popular song, Indian classical music, Israeli music, Chilean folk music, Columbian folk music, musical theatre, classical, jazz, pop, rock, R&B, folk, country, and more. I've been in many academic settings where there would have been significant amounts of tension surrounding the fact that people were singing some of these kinds of music. But at the Institute, every genre is given a safe space to exist. Every year, I watch walls crumble. Defenses drop. Prejudices dissolve. Genres (and the people who sing them) coexist not just respectfully, but happily. It may seem strange to most people that this wouldn't be the norm, but this is indeed a very rare and unique environment. It's hard to describe just how amazing the energy is, and it only seems to get better every year. 

I want to say a huge thank you to the Institute's faculty for another year of helping people move closer to vocal freedom and authenticity. It is not just your knowledge of this information that helps people, but the way you teach it. When we are given practical tools to better understand our bodies, our minds, and our craft in a shame-free space, we step further in to our true vocal identity. Yet again, I was overwhelmed as I witnessed the recovery of people who were abandoned by other teachers and were losing hope. Jeanie LoVetri is indeed a master teacher. Can't wait for next year!



Check out what's coming up in future months here: