Mary Ellen Desmond has been performing professionally as a vocalist in the Philadelphia area for twenty plus years, while accepting occasional invitations to perform in Japan. In July of 2012, JazzTimes magazine described her as " a confident, musical, swinging stylist who is simply a joy to hear" (Bruce Klauber). Classically trained, she is recognized as a crossover artist covering a variety of styles and repertoires with a primary focus on jazz.
She attended Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (now UArts), earned an Associates Degree in Vocal Performance with Highest Honors from Community College of Philadelphia, and received her BA in Music from Thomas Edison State College in NJ. Ms. Desmond joined the faculty of University of the Arts School of Music in 2007 as a vocal instructor, and in 2010 began teaching voice at Community College of Philadelphia, as well.
Her debut CD recording, Darn That Dream, was chosen as a 1998 Top Ten Critics' Pick in Cadence Magazine. Her second release , A Tribute to Peggy Lee & Rosemary Clooney, was recorded with Philadelphia vocalist Meg Clifton Mitchell, and granted them the opportunity to be the opening performers for Linda Ronstadt at The Annual Rosemary Clooney Music Festival in Ms. Clooney's home town of Maysville, KY in 2004. The Tribute CD also placed them on the roster of The Sonny Costanzo 2003-2004 Concert Series at Quinnipiac University, CT, where they held a date scheduled between Jane Monheit and Karrin Allyson.
She performs regularly in the Philadelphia area at clubs, churches, concerts, and private functions. She can be heard performing with pianists Tom Lawton, Lucas Brown, and Bill Schilling, guitarists Michael Kennedy and Kevin Hanson, bassist Lee Smith, and tenor saxophone greats Larry McKenna and Robert "Bootsie" Barnes. She is active as a program and music coordinator for fundraising concerts, most notably her self conceived annual holiday jazz program "Comfort & Joy," which raises money for lives affected by AIDS and HIV through the Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany in Center City, Philadelphia. She was also the program director and music coordinator for the same church's fund raising effort, "Fine & Mellow: A Tribute to Billie Holiday Concert," of October 2009.
Philadelphia writer Donald Van Deusen is quoted as saying, "She evokes memories of Mary Ford with her clear, sweet , swinging voice and sings ballads with the jazz sureness of Maxine Sullivan." (Philadelphia WELCOMAT, 2/24/93). "Miss Desmond can sing anything from light opera to rock, but she delivers jazz and classic pop with stunning style." (Donald Van Deusen, Philadelphia METRO, 8/1/03).
Class Schedule, Spring 2015
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