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Voices Of The People - Annie Sciolla

Annie SciollaVoices Of The People: Celebration of Singers
July 6, 7, 8, 2017
Hatfield House
33rd & Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130  


The Philadelphia Jazz Project continues as we carry the spirit of Philadelphia into the second weekend of July 2017. In collaboration with Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Parks On Tap and Jazz Near You, The Philadelphia Jazz Project presents: Voices Of The People: Celebration of Singers; a three-day, vocal festival featuring over a dozen of Philly's finest vocal talents, including Barbara Montgomery, Rhenda Fearrington, Ella Gahnt, Lili Anel and Raimundo Santos.


Annie Sciolla is a member of the voice faculty at the University of the Arts, her alma mater, as well as Community College of Philadelphia.  She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1996.  Known as the ultimate cross-over singer, Sciolla has toured with Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals, served as vocal coach to Courtney Love and others.  Her debut album Jerome Kern-Lost Treasures on Centaur Record Label was described as a “total delight” by Billboard Magazine. Anne sings on world renowned jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco’s album Never Can Say Goodbye, the Music of Michael Jackson, Nigh Note Record Label, which was Grammy © nominated for “Best Jazz Contemporary Album” in 2011 and has served  2 terms on the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy.


PJP spoke with Annie Sciolla about her work and the Voices of the People Celebration.

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?


Annie Sciolla: My musical direction hasn’t really changed in over 35 years of performance. I am a cross-over artist who sings jazz like jazz and sings classical like classical, but knows the sacred boundary of not letting those two get married anytime soon!  It’s been working fantastically for me and I don’t intend to change it.  It’s who I am, a chameleon of sorts. I am also a teacher of voice in the arts for all genres, which keeps me on my toes and prepared for every new generation who comes into my studio both at home and at the 2 universities that I am a faculty member.  As a caveat to this, I am getting up there in age and still singing like I am 25.  If you keep your voice in shape, guard it like the Hope Diamond, you can sustain a very, very long, healthy, happy and vibrant career.  The age has added a tremendous amount of gravitas to the maturity of the voice, but then so has life experience and freedom to ignore negativity and discourse.


PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?


Annie Sciolla 2Annie Sciolla: Joni Mitchell has been one of the most influential musicians in my time.  She consistently reinvented herself over a 40-year time span in her performance tenure.  She not only exudes talent and strength, but also was not, and still is not afraid to speak her truth.  Her organic approach to all of her compositions and collaborations with some of the greatest American folk rock artists and jazz legends, have always been successful because of her unabashed freedom of will to be as human as possible, as conscious as possible, and real in all of her performances.  This is a gestalt I’ve prescribed to for the past 35 years of performance.


PJP: Philadelphia has an enormous pool of talented musicians, what’s it like to be selected for the Voices Of The People: Celebration Of Singers?


Annie Sciolla: I’ve been on the Philly music jazz scene since I was 19 years old, and I’m still humming along.  Everyone always asks me:  “Hey…why aren't you famous yet?”  I smile and chuckle and think to myself, fame is not the most important thing going these days.  I like my privacy, I like to be recognized, I like to crossover genres from classical to jazz, I feel accomplished without having to prove myself to anyone.  I am honored to be a part of this collaboration.


PJP: Why is this event important?


Annie Sciolla: Celebrating any kind of music is important. This event is a social event, a conscious awareness raiser so-to-speak.  People want to feel something real, something they can’t touch but can always play over and over in their hearts and minds.  The enormous effort on the part of The Philadelphia Jazz Project and the initiatives that are being made for the soloists and performers to work together who have not worked together before, meld and learn how to make music together is true leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.  This at times is no easy task for some, but I am looking forward to being in this event.


PJP: What are you going to present at Voices Of The People?


Annie Sciolla: I am presenting new original material written by a great local Philly composer, Heath Allen and some traditional standards.  Mix and match, keep ‘em guessing. But more importantly, I will try and present my best possible self for the enjoyment of this collaboration and others.


PJP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forwarding moving musical ideas while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?


Annie Sciolla: I never look back and regret my work.  In Philly there is a saying that a lot of jazz musicians use: You’re only as good as your last gig”.  I am not in agreement with this statement. The great music of the past must never be forgotten or disrespected, as it was an expression of life during that time period.  It is my responsibility to carry on that musical legacy and to impart that through my teaching to new generations to carry on that musical legacy of those who came before us. Music transcends boundaries and creates an intimacy that you can always reflect on and own.  A large part of my personality is as a singer and teacher.  Being of service to the youth and the public keeps you even-keeled and conscious, never imbibing in the ego.  Sometimes my singing can be raw, but it is honest and at the core of my humanity.  Sharing it is important, even if I have made a difference in just one person’s life, I know I have done my job well.


VOTPPJP: When listening to your music what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?


Annie Sciolla: I am not concerned whether or not my audience will understand what I am doing.  I am more open to the invitation I provide to my listeners to open their ears and hearts to what my energy will bring to them on a personal level.  Music is an aesthetic experience that will certainly reach and influence everyone differently. Since my audience is so diverse, there are riches in that experience that is a two-way unspoken conversation between us.


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?


Annie Sciolla: Jazz has been inside me before I was born.  Both my parents were lover of the arts, jazz and classical.  There was music of both sorts playing on the turntable 24/7.  My mom, Bernice had a beautiful singing voice and my pop, Frank played saxophone and guitar.  Between their shared talents and my father’s jazz supper club “Sciolla’s “ in north Philly from 1940-1968, it was inevitable that one of my 6 siblings would be infected with the jazz cool-aid. That was me. Jazz music is tattooed on my heart and when that happened, I couldn’t get away from it.  Music chose me.  I am grateful that I listened and followed.


All Concerts July 6-8, 2017, will be held at Hatfield House, 33rd & Girard Avenue.  

Friday, July 7 at 7:00 PM / INTERDEPENDENCE

Interdependence Banner
Featuring Annie Sciolla, Ella Gahnt, Milton Suggs with Music Director: Mike Boone

Voices Of The People: Celebration of Singers
July 6, 7, 8, 2017
Hatfield House
33rd & Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130  


Admission Is FREE! However, Registration Is Mandatory  Register Here!!

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a thirst for awesome singers.




There is no formal parking lot. However, there is "some" street parking available. We urge everyone to use public transportation, or for drivers, to give themselves plenty of time to find adequate parking.



Two SEPTA Transportation Routes will get you to the Hatfield House.

  • Route 15 | Traveling along-Girard Avenue
  • Route 7 | Travels on 33rd Street

There are other routes to get to 33rd & Girard as well.
Check at the SEPTA website for more info: SEPTA


Admission Is FREE! However, Registration Is Mandatory  Register Here!!

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a thirst for awesome singers.



Jazz Near You, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and PhillyCAM


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Philadelphia Jazz Project (PJP) supports, promotes, archives and celebrates the diverse elements within the Philadelphia Jazz community, with the larger goal of connecting to the global community


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the CultureWorks | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.