Florance presents 'Colors of Jazz' in Renaissance Center's intimate Gaslight Theatre

Release Date: 1/10/2009. Expired: 2/7/2009

Connye Florance presents a colorful collection of classic jazz standards and contemporary hits in the intimate Gaslight Dinner Theatre at The Renaissance Center in Dickson with a performance of Colors of Jazz on Feb. 7.

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. show are $35 and include dinner and the performance featuring BET’s 2000 Jazz Vocalist of the Year backed by a stellar three-piece ensemble.

North Carolina native and Nashville resident Florance delights audiences with a repertoire of jazz standards compiled over her two decades of performing professionally. Colors of Jazz ranges from jazz standards and contemporary tunes, from the blues to Broadway, from the Cotton Club to American radio and film, with works by Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and others.

From headlining concerts to working in film, television, radio and the recording studio, Florance has shared the stage with Beegie Adair, Jennifer Holliday and Grammy-winning trumpet player Randy Brecker. She has performed across the U.S. and created the acclaimed one-woman show Jazz Rhapsody.

“It is an honor to be able to share the gift of live performance – whether from the theatre stage, concert hall or classroom, and a joy to honor those whose artistry continues to influence and enhance the world in which we live, including those of great fame and those we may never come to know as the heroes they are,” Florance says.

As the youngest of five in a family of musicians, Florance didn't have to look far for encouragement when her love of singing took off.

"There was just always music in the house," she recalls of her childhood in North Carolina. “Either (my) daddy ...playing the piano, stomping and grunting out the groove on some Ellington tune; (my) sisters and brother rehearsing their most recent favorite, or the whole family ‘choired up’ and singing my mother's favorite hymns whenever the crowd was gathered and the spirit struck...which was very often. We never wanted for a show."

The scope of Florance's career has included most every facet of the industry: studio, stage, television and film. She has sung jingles for Van Camps Food and Major League Baseball, hosted a PBS Literacy Link educational series produced by KET, been the voice of the WB on a number of Warner Brothers jingles across the country, and has even sung country as a background vocalist on the Elton John/Tammy Wynette duet What a Woman Needs. Her film, theater and television credits include the feature film The Client, Proud Heart starring Lorrie Morgan and the role of Ramona in the 2000 independent film festival favorite Existo. Florance has toured nationally with Columbia artist and vocalist Holliday, as featured vocalist with Modern Jazz Tuba Project, The Nashville Jazz Orchestra and with her own award-winning trio of musicians.

Florance balances her on-stage career with her off-stage presence in the classroom, stepping out of the spotlight to share her experience with youth and young adults. She has taught performance and career development workshops at Fisk University, Cumberland University, Village Cultural Arts Center, Stageworks Performing Arts and Riverpark's Young Adult Theater Academy. She is the developer and instructor of Art of Life Creative Development Workshops for youth, Working Artist Workshops for aspiring professionals in the performing arts and serves as advisory board member and vocal performance instructor at Nashville Jazz Workshop.

She will present a Working Artists Workshop at The Renaissance Center 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7. The workshop focus includes auditions, resumes, press kits, agents, managers and more. Students should bring prepared audition materials for performance review and critique. Students will sharpen audition skills and techniques for pursuing professional performing arts careers. Workshop tuition is $30.

While she enjoys teaching and working as an actress, Florance admits it is singing that truly keeps her world in check.

"I love to sing," she says. "It makes me feel good. Music helps me remember that I have a place in the world, that I am part of a collective of hearts and souls with dreams, all in need of love and definition of purpose."

For more information on the Feb. 7 Colors of Jazz performance or the Working Artists Workshop, call (615) 740-5600 or visit www.rcenter.org. To purchase tickets for the show call (615) 740-5601. To register for the workshop, call (615) 740-5533.

The Renaissance Center is a fine arts education and performing arts center at 855 Highway 46 South in Dickson, just 35 miles west of Nashville on Interstate 40 at exit 172.

Visit the Events - Concerts and Recitals page for more about musical performances.

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