Darden Purcell

Director of Jazz Studies at George Mason University

Darden Purcell, a Washington D.C. based jazz vocalist, has shared the stage with many top jazz artists including Eric Alexander, Terell Stafford, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, performing at concert halls and clubs nationally and internationally, including Blues Alley, The Jazz Kitchen, and the Kennedy Center. Dr. Purcell is the Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Voice Instructor and Director of the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble at George Mason University.


Ms. Purcell is a former Washington DC Air Force Band vocalist, with the groups High Flight and The Airmen of Note, performing around the world. Purcell performed back-up vocals for recording artists such as Chaka Khan, Melba Moore and Rita Coolidge. 


Dr. Purcell is a sought-after educator and clinician. Her groups have been invited to perform at conferences and festivals. Her students and ensembles have won numerous awards including Downbeat Student Music Awards 


She is certified in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method, levels I and II and is a member of NafME, VMEA, ACDA and JEN, where she serves as the VA/DC chapter Vice President. Read more and visit Darden online at


Every student possesses artistic abilities that require responsible nurturing and cultivation. I believe it is my responsibility to encourage this development through the celebrated standards set by our jazz masters, both instrumental and vocal. Practices developed in private studio, studio classes and ensemble rehearsals are jazz articulation, stylistic exploration and interpretation, ear training, jazz harmony and analysis, recognition and internalization of jazz vocabulary, improvisation, swing feel and rhythmic freedom and lyrical interpretation. I see vocalizing as a highly physical discipline and positive vocal development is more about the student becoming aware of his or her patterns and desiring to build a technique which will support their musical objectives. My teaching style is deeply rooted in my own performing and professional experiences and my ultimate goal for any student is continuous and healthy musical advancement throughout their life.

Jazz Studies Major

George Mason University

Carlehr Swanson

Vocal Major

George Mason University

Sarah Moyers

Vocalist working at Fulbright España

Linnea Monson

I'm Old Fashioned

The Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble (directed by Darden Purcell) performs "I'm Old Fashioned," composed by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, arrangement by Zach Zaholkovsky. Featured on this recording is Shawn Purcell (guitar), Regan Brough (bass), Kevin McDonald (drums) and mixed by Bill Kessinger (CFA Audio supervisor). Video by Taisha Estrada.

I Love Being Here with You

with the Capital Bones Big Band 



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