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May 2, 2020

The New Normal: Quarantine Songs, Virtually Live Series and Zoom Masterclasses.

“We need art to console us and to define us.”

As we all try to wrap our heads around the ”new normal” we find ourselves in-artists continue to create. Innovation is alive and well. Many of us gather to mourn what was lost, to appreciate what we do have, and to imagine what will be. We will live in a new world-and there is much hope to be found there.

Artists know we must reevaluate at all levels to see what systems are working for us and how to create new works in the future. We are taking into account potential economic and saftey restrictions; but also knowing we must bring forth what the human soul needs: creativity. We need art to console us and to define us. If we look at history: we can look forward to bright new ways to do that. Every aspect of humanity has made its mark in great difficulty and now is our time. We gather on Zoom, on Skype, on webinars to learn, to process, and to console. We keep learning and we sit with our grief. We make videos for our faith services and we learn new forms of social distance singing-with new apps and meeting spaces. The music and the art cannot be stopped. We need it as we need nourishment for our souls. Concert halls and theaters are empty; but art is alive. We are all learning new things. We are learning how to record, how to make videos, how to ”go live,“ and bring ourselves and what our audiences desire most-connection. Though it is not the same as human connection in person-it is a way for us enrich our “now.”

I have been sitting at home noodling at the piano-making some very imperfect recordings and sharing this vulnerable art for the first time. Last weekend; for the first time in six weeks; I was able to sing with a pianist at a church for a livestream. I will never forget how emotional I felt to sing this Mozart and Bernstein in rehearsal for the first time. There is a magic that happens when artists connect. This week, I am fortunate to record some sacred pieces again with dear friends (at proper social distance), and give a Virtually Live Lecture and Recital on Cinderella with The Savannah Voice Festival. (La Cenerentola). It is these moments that I am so excited about. I will never take collaboration for granted again. This moment that defines us has made us realize the very rich exprience it is to make music with others, to make art with others, and to connect with others. There is nothing like making music live-but we will look forward to those special moments with such immense joy.

You may listen to those Quarantine Songs here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwk-MruiFK1aVHqvXxCK6aX68xlREbAXC

I have had the privilege of connecting with many artists by doing a live interview series on Instagram and teaching several masterclasses via Zoom. I have enjoyed hearing how my colleagues are doing throughout this journey-and have been so inspired by their innovations. They continue to teach, create new art, and come up with solutions. I have so enjoyed teaching themed free masterclasses to a global and diverse group of singers. It has both inspired and taught me so much! I look forward to continuing these programs and will post about them here on my website.

Though my heart wishes to be with my audience, I am so grateful to share these moments with you. I wish you joy and happiness.

May you be in good health and may you be well, dear friends.

Love,

Jessica

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January 10, 2020

Guest Blog Spot: Sherrill Milnes Turns 85. A Tribute.

“This week we celebrate the eighty-fifth birthday of the legendary operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes. Born on January 10, 1935 in Downers Grove, Illinois, Sherrill lived his early life on a dairy farm. His mother was the music director of the Methodist church, where Sherrill gleaned his early music education; singing hymns and playing several instruments. His father was the minister. From this grounded place, Sherrill grew up to become the most celebrated and the most recorded American opera singer of his time. To me, he is family.“

I had the awesome privilege of writing a tribute to my dear friend, Sherrill Milnes, in honor of his eighty-fifth birthday this week. A big thank you to WXXI and Mona Seghatoleslami, for giving me the opportunity to write this piece.

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December 31, 2019

New Year's Eve with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra! Jessica sings, "Broadway Through The Ages!"

Jessica is thrilled to join an excellent cast of Broadway vets as they sing 'Broadway Through The Ages,' with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra.

For more information: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/westfield/articles/broadway-stars-dancers-from-dance-theatre-of-harlem-join-njfo-for-nye-in-westfield

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December 1, 2019

Jessica performs at Birdland!

On Tuesday, November 26th, 2019, Jessica performed at  The Birdland Theater! Click on the link below to watch Jessica sing from Carmen! Jessica was a featured artist in Susan Mosher's hit variety show, The Lineup! She looks forward to returning in 2020!

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October 31, 2019

Best sings title role of Angelina in Rossini's La Cenerentola this summer with the Savannah Opera!

"Gioachino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” (Cinderella) is an operatic drama performed in two acts. Based on the famous fairy tale Cendrillon, it was written by Charles Perrault and was first performed in Rome’s Teatro Valle on January 25, 1817. Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the title role will be sung by SVF’s own Jessica Ann Best and conducted by Andrew Bisantz."

Jessica is thrilled to join an excellent cast of Broadway vets as they sing 'Broadway Through The Ages,' with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra.

For more information: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/westfield/articles/broadway-stars-dancers-from-dance-theatre-of-harlem-join-njfo-for-nye-in-westfield

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September 30, 2019

For Your Grammy Consideration: Louis Karchin's Naxos Recording, "Jane Eyre."

Jessica is featured on Louis Karchin's new opera recording release of Jane Eyre, playing the roles of Bessie and Mary Rivers. The album was recorded in 2017 on the Naxos Label.

Jessica is thrilled to join an excellent cast of Broadway vets as they sing 'Broadway Through The Ages,' with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra.

For more information: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/westfield/articles/broadway-stars-dancers-from-dance-theatre-of-harlem-join-njfo-for-nye-in-westfield

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