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 the Grammy-nominated, vocal supergroup, säje (rhymes with beige).

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

This not-to-be-missed performance features one of the newest ensembles to the jazz scene who are simultaneously making the biggest name for themselves. While each säje member has an impressive and accomplished solo career, the ensemble came together just two years ago. With their first composition they earned their first Grammy nomination and their second composition was awarded the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize award.

“I would say they are poised to fly but they are already soaring and will take us with them during their first Reno performance this month,” Shoshana Zeldner, program manager with the School of the Arts, explains.

When the four singer-composers first came together in 2020, they intended to get to know each other and perhaps form an ensemble. The outcome was more than anyone expected. They discovered their voices blended and harmonized together beautifully, creating a unique, gorgeous tone, ranging from loud and brassy to soft and tender.

During that time members Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Johnaye Kendric and Erin Bentlage began to form their collective identity as a vocal powerhouse. They wrote their first single “Desert Song,” which celebrates “the freedom in embracing the limitless potential of unburdened 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, beloved jazz standards and intriguing reimaginings of contemporary songs covering a range of genres.

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

Individual tickets to säje are $36 (Adult), $34 (Senior/UNR Faculty and Staff), $16 (Youth) and $5 (University of Nevada, Reno students).

The Performing Arts Series season will continue on Thursday, Mar. 9 at 7:30 pm with the vocal percussionist virtuosa, Butterscotch, known for her one-of-a-kind compositions that combine singing, beatboxing, rapping, looping, piano and guitar playing — often at the same time.

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