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Yancy Garcia Named Next Ella Fitzgerald Scholar

We are pleased to announce a new Ella Fitzgerald Scholar, Yancy Garcia. We remain grateful to the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation for their essential support.

Associate Professor of Jazz Studies Pete Malinverni confers with his colleagues on determining the Ella Fitzgerald Scholar, a decisions based on the student’s artistic strength and personal work ethic. Purchase is one of only a handful of colleges, and the only one in New York, to be given scholarship funding, from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. Fitzgerald was born in nearby Yonkers, NY.

Born in Brooklyn and growing up in almost all parts of NYC, Yancy Garcia began performing, writing songs, and playing guitar at the age of seven and has continued her music education and artistry ever since.

At age ten, she was part of a music program called Little Kids Rock, where she was introduced to songwriting. At twelve years old, she enrolled at Harlem School of the Arts as a prep student, where she was a Soprano for the Dorothy Maynor Choir, took guitar and voice lessons, theater, dance, and studio production classes.

Garcia has had the opportunity to sing with legendary artists like Bonnie Raitt and Smokey Robinson. In 2016, she was a featured singer for the Aretha Franklin tribute concert at Carnegie Hall.

In 2017, Garcia won Popular voice for the YoungArts competition singing her original song “Ain’t Nobody.” In 2018, she was a featured singer for the well renowned gospel show, “Too Hot to Handle: The Gospel Messiah” at the United Palace.

Following in the footsteps of another New York born and bred jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald, she also got a chance to sing at the Apollo Theater Amateur night. Ella Fitzgerald was one of her first introductions to Jazz and in her words, “was immediately intrigued by her scat singing and found myself trying to transcribe her solos. When learning a standard, I often found myself looking for Ella’s version for either a solo or because I simply love the way she interprets tunes. I was also fascinated by how Ella sang songs so joyfully and had such a bright personality with such an unfortunate upbringing and I admired how she broke so many barriers as a singer in a male dominated industry and as a Black woman in America. Ella Fitzgerald continues to be an influential icon of Jazz music.”