The VJC Big Band Scholarship Gala feat. Alexis Cole in


December 1, 2023    
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Vermont Jazz Center
72 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro, VT

Event Type

VJC Big Band Fundraiser: Dance to the sounds of a 16-piece big band performing swinging dance music – with special guest

vocalist Alexis Cole.

Livestream Donations


“Cole…displays an exuberant personality, outstanding diction, flawless pitch, and inspired scat technique, all qualities that should place her in the highest echelon of contemporary jazz singers.”

-Jazz History Online

The Vermont Jazz Center’s Big Band will present its Annual Scholarship Gala on Friday, December 1 st at 7:30 PM.

This event is the primary fundraiser for the VJC Scholarship Fund.

This year the band will feature vocalist Alexis Cole, a singer who has performed at celebrated venues including The Carlyle, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note. She has also sung as a soloist with the Boston Pops and the Detroit Symphony.

For six years, Ms. Cole served in the US Army as the lead singer for the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights. A few classics that Cole will be singing include swing tunes like “Our Love is Here to Stay,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Beyond the Sea” and “Social Call” and Jobim bossa novas such as “Corcovado,” and “Triste.”

Alexis Cole has recorded a dozen albums as a leader with such luminaries as pianist Harry Pickens and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. She has also appeared as a guest with pianist Harold Mabern on his album Afro Blue, with fellow vocalists Norah Jones, Gregory Porter, and Jane Monheit.

Cole is a world traveler whose website blog provides details of her fascinating journey. She has done stints at high-class hotels in India, Korea and Japan and taught for a semester at the Berklee satellite program in Quito, Ecuador. In 2020 Alexis Cole founded the website, an online educational community featuring singing classes with some of the top names in vocal jazz.

Formerly a professor of jazz voice at SUNY Purchase and William Paterson Universities, her student Samara Joy won the 2023 Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album. Her student Lucy Wijnands is a winner of the Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition. In May 2023 Cole resigned from academia to work on a new project called Music Auditions to help emerging musicians find performing opportunities around the world.

The VJC Big Band, under the leadership of musical director Rob Freeberg, is made up of area professional musicians who come together to enjoy the rewards of playing invigorating, challenging and historically significant repertoire while raising money for the VJC’s Scholarship Fund. December’s Annual Gala is the primary fundraiser for the VJC Scholarship Fund which grants an annual average of $27,000 worth of scholarships to students, offsetting fees for ensembles, private lessons and VJC’s world-renowned summer jazz workshop.

All proceeds from this event will be earmarked towards benefitting students who otherwisewould not be able to pursue their musical dreams.

The members of the 2023 VJC Big Band include trumpeters Don Anderson, Rick Anderson, Haneef Nelson, Joe Conti and Rob Freeberg; woodwind players Michael Zsoldos, Sherm Fox, Matt Steckler, Carl Clements, and Donna Morse; trombonists Tim Atherton, Priyana Magavi, Dave Sporny and Amaranth Cole; and rhythm section members Eugene Uman (piano), Wes Brown (bass), and Steve Rice (drums).

VJC is especially grateful to sponsors Dianne and Steve Lieberman, medical professionals from Amherst, Massachusetts. By sponsoring this annual event for many years, the Liebermans have demonstrated their belief in the music and the VJC community.

This concert will be a hybrid event with both livestream and in-person components.

You can come to the Jazz Center to dance in-person to the sixteen-piece band, or create an intimate dance party in your home.

Be sure to mark Friday, December 1st on your calendars.

Polish your dancing shoes to prepare for this fun evening. Dance the night away and savor the sounds of swing music! Make your reservations early, as this concert always sells out quickly.

-Eugene Uman, VJC Director

The Vermont Jazz Center is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Vermont Community Foundation. Media support provided by The Commons.

In-person tickets for the Big Band 2023 in-person event are offered on a sliding fee scale from $30+ per person and all seats are general admission. Available online at, or by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line at 802-254-9088, ext. 1. and by email at Handicapped access is available by emailing or calling the VJC to schedule a time for one of our staff to meet your party.

Mask wearing is optional.


Livestream viewers are encouraged to make an on-line donation to the Scholarship Fund in lieu of purchasing a ticket. Access to the on-line event can be found at our website and our Facebook page.

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