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Darden Purcell is a well respected educator and vocal coach. Dr. Purcell is the Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Voice instructor and director of the DownBeat award-winning

Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble at George Mason University.

Dr. Purcell's ensembles have performed in Jazz festivals and at conferences throughout the nation, including the Kansas City Jazz Summit, New York Voices Festival (Chicago), Western Michigan Gold Company Invitational (Kalamazoo, MI), Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference (Louisville, KY), JENerations Jazz Festival (New Orleans) and Tiffin University's "Accent Vocal Festival" (Tiffin, OH). The Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble was a featured collegiate group at the 2018 and 2024 JEN conferences in Dallas TX and New Orleans, LA.


2020, Dr Purcell was a presenter at the Virtual Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) conference as well as a featured performer for the Jazz Education Network Virtual conference. 2023 Dr. Purcell presented at the American Choral Directors Association, Southern Region Conference in Raleigh, NC.  2024, the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble was a featured perfomer at the Virginia Music Educators Conference in Richmond, VA.  

She has served as faculty on camps nationwide, including W.O. Smith Music Camp (Nashville), Illinois Summer Youth Music (Champaign, IL) Mason Summer Jazz Workshop, MAT Camp (Wyoming), Augusta Heritage Center Summer Camp (West Virginia), National Jazz Workshop and is the host of the Mason Jazz Camp at George Mason University.

Universities, Conferences and events where Darden has presented and/or performed as a guest artist, adjudicator or clinician:


American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Southern Region Conference

Baltimore All-County Jazz Festival 

Blues Alley Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition

Capital University 

Charter 100 DC

Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition

Friends University 
Illinois Wesleyan Jazz Festival
ISSMA State Show Choir and Jazz Vocal Finals

JaZzDaYs Festival, Differdange, Luxembourg 

Jazz Education Network (JEN)

National Press Club

PMEA District 7 Jazz Festival 

PMEA District 9 Jazz Festival 

Projecto GURI, Brazil 
Southern Nazarene University Vocal Jazz Festival
Texas Tech University
Tiffin University "Accent Vocal Festival"
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Mary Washington Jazz Festival 

University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria (Jazz Voices Conference) 

Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) 
Virginia Tech


Darden's students have won "Outstanding Soloist" and "Outstanding Musicianship" awards at collegiate festivals, DownBeat Student Music awards, military band positions and finalist positions in the Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition. The Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble was awarded "Outstanding Ensemble" at the Kansas City Jazz Summit and has shared the stage with the New York Voices, The Manhattan Transfer and international A Cappella group, ACCENT. Spring 2023, the MJVE was awarded a DOWNBEAT Student Music Award for "Outstanding Performance - Undergraduate College Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble." 

Many thanks to Michelle Latour for the feature in Classical Singer Music Spotlight Series "Where I Last got Paid to Sing." 


Jazz Education Network (JEN) - VA/DC Chapter Vice President 

American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) - Virginia ACDA Vocal Jazz Resource and Repertoire Chair 

National Association of Music Educators (NAfME)

Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) 

Virginia American Choral Directors Association "Harmony" newsletter

"Swingin' into the Season: a Holiday Jazz Repertoire List"

"Where's the Rep? Finding New and Exciting Music for your Vocal Jazz and A Cappella groups!"

Darden is certified in Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method, levels I and II and has had the honor of serving as an adjudicator for the Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Jazz Competition hosted by the Blues Alley Jazz Society 2017 through 2023.

Dr. Purcell is available for guest conducting, master classes and vocal workshops.

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