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 dardenpurcell.com.
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
“Dr. Purcell has not only provided me with a world-class education, but she is also a world-class person. The learning environment she has cultivated in the Jazz program provides students the unique opportunity to showcase all of their talents, and most importantly feel like they belong.”
George Mason University
"From the very beginning, Dr. Purcell saw potential in me when I doubted myself. She encouraged me to pursue my goals, but more importantly she always pushed me and I am both a better musician and a better person as a result. Her instruction prepared me to win my dream job, and she taught me that hard work will take one farther than raw talent ever could.
Vocalist working at Fulbright España
"Thank you for the beautiful feature, and thank you even more for helping me develop my voice and my love for jazz music. Everything you do is so appreciated and makes a lasting difference in the lives of your students."
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.