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Vocalist Alexis Cole Joins Faculty At William Paterson University

originally published: 09/14/2021

Vocalist Alexis Cole Joins Faculty At William Paterson University

(WAYNE, NJ) -- Starting in Fall 2021, New York based vocalist Alexis Cole will join the faculty at the prestigious conservatory at William Paterson University.  An alumnus from the class of 1998, Cole takes the baton from her mentor, Nancy Marano who held the chair for the previous 25 years, coincidentally Cole’s first year as a student at the college. 

Having grown up in Florida, Cole chose to start her education at the University of Miami.  Although a renowned jazz program; with its focus on group singing, and a large student body, she felt it was difficult to find her way there.  “William Paterson was a perfect place for me to land” says Cole, who transferred there for her Junior year.  “I felt it had an equal emphasis on skills building and creating artist/musicians.” She thrived under the tutelage of Marano and also Todd Coolman, her combo teacher whom she would later become colleagues with, when she began teaching at SUNY Purchase in 2014.  

Alexis began her teaching career as a private teacher at the 92nd St. Y in Manhattan.  She left that position to teach at the Berklee College of Music’s program in Quito, Ecuador.  Then following a six and a half year stint in the military, singing with the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights Big Band, she joined the faculty at SUNY Purchase, New York.  

In 2020, Cole founded JazzVoice.com, an online educational community, where amateurs and budding professionals could have access to a wide variety top notch vocal educators. With a membership of over 200 monthly subscribers, and weekly classes for skills building and professional development, the site has gained international recognition.  The opportunity to study with faculty like Tierney Sutton, Karrin Allyson, Catherine Russell, Jane Monheit and Cole’s mentor Nancy Marano, make the programming compelling and exciting for singers and fans alike. 

In 2021, Cole launched the inaugural Vocal Jazz Summit, in coordination with the Zeiders American Dream Theater in Virginia Beach.  In 2021 it was presented online, but in 2022 they plan to gather in person, with daily workshops and jam sessions, and headliners Kurt Elling and Cole providing the evening entertainment, closing with Samara Joy, a rising star and recent student of Cole’s from SUNY Purchase.  Other presenters for 2022 include René Marie, Dominique Eade, Greta Matassa and Jane Monheit. 

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William Paterson’s Jazz Program, originally founded by Thad Jones is nearing in its 50th year. With artistic director Bill Charlap and longtime academic director Dr. David Demsey, it boasts a faculty of all New York based working professionals like Vincent Herring, Dayna Stevens and Chico Mendoza.  It’s also the home of the Living Jazz Archive, including collections of music and ephemera from jazz greats. 

When considering her for the position at Paterson, Demsey reflected “It gives us great pride to have Alexis joining this faculty.  She has built such a wonderful career, and has so many links to our historic jazz program - not only that she is an alumnus, but also that she has recorded with her fellow WP alum Eric Alexander and with the late Harold Mabern, and that she remains connected to her predecessor, Nancy Marano.  We are all very excited to welcome her.”

William Paterson University is located at 300 Pompton Road in Wayne, New Jersey.

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