Andra Sparks Jazz Singer - About me - page 1


Andra Sparks Jazz SingerBorn in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, I have played the piano and sung for as far back as I can remember... in a musical environment where there was a wide range of musical styles to explore - classical, folk and pop - I enjoyed anything with moody words and an interesting melody...

I sang in local Festivals, competitions and concerts, then gradually progressed to having lead roles in various operettas at Kent university, where I was studying English and American Literature - and after in local operatic groups. I was variously - Helene in 'La Belle Helene' ... Dido.. Nella in 'Gianni Schicci' ... Iolanthe ... and a chorus member in some of Bromley Operatic Society's productions. All great fun and a complete contrast to playing piano for the school band productions of 'Dracula Spectacular' and others.. while I taught English.

Andra SparksThis obsession with lyrics and experience outside the traditional college one, meant I was discovering an unusual range of songs and music. Working as an English teacher and by this time mother to two children: Robert and Claire, I continued to perform at festivals, concerts and sing composers' music ... anything contemporary and different.

Composer and performer Betty Roe's music was a turning point, as she dealt with classical as well as humerous and quirky character songs. Her setting of Langston Hughes' poem 'Madam and the Minister' for double bass and voice - was a revelation, especially as my son, Robert, was now a mini bass player with the indefatigable Caroline Emery. So I sang a quickly developing repertoire for bass and voice with different groups of young bass students in Sweden, the Menuhin School and the Purcell Room...

Jazz in Northamptonshire
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