With passion and skill, Wendy has been delivering smart and arresting jazz to the mountains of Western NC and in the process has become one of the most popular artists in the region. She consistently receives accolades for her energetic and entertaining renditions of swing, bop, post bop, and Great American Songbook standards.
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Wendy has always loved music and singing. However, being quite shy, she would never sing in front of anyone - she would only sing when no one could hear her. Still, her shyness could not suppress her desire to communicate through music and at age 12 she took up the flute. It was through music that Wendy was able to express those ideas and thoughts for which she could not find the words...small wonder then, why jazz, steeped in improvisation and deep personal expression, now provides an intriguing medium for her.
Wendy attended Appalachian State University on a flute scholarship and it was there that shyness gave way to the deep desire to sing. During her sophomore year, she changed her major to vocal performance and her singing career was launched.
In college she focused primarily on opera and art song, winning competitions locally, statewide, and regionally. A two-time winner of ASU's prestigious concerto-aria competition, Wendy also received 1st runner up in the NC NATSAA competition in 1998. After hours she would sing wherever she could find a microphone and an audience, gently crafting her onstage charm and ability to communicate a lyric with passion and honesty.
Wendy received a B.M. and an M.M. in vocal performance from ASU and then joined the voice faculty there where she taught for 8 years before embarking on a full time, professional singing/acting career. Having sung with Opera Carolina, Appalachian Opera Theatre, and the Brevard Music Center, her favorite opera roles include Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Papagena in Die Zauberflote. An accomplished Equity actress as well as singer, Wendy has appeared in leading roles on stages of many prominent professional theatres throughout the U.S. including Florida Repertory Theatre, Flat Rock Playhouse, Little Theatre on the Square (IL), Temple Theatre, and Blowing Rock Stage Company. She received glowing reviews for her portrayals of Kate in Kiss Me Kate, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Miss Sandra in All Shook Up and Brenda in Smokey Joe's Cafe...to name just a few.
She was also one of nine singers chosen after extensive auditions in North America, Europe, and Australia, to appear at Tokyo Disney in the Broadway review ENCORE!
From 1991 - 2008 she was a frequent headliner and lead production singer on cruise ships and it was during this time the she wrote Everything is Rosie (a one-woman show celebrating the life of Rosemary Clooney) and Ladies and Gentlemen (a cabaret show celebrating the pioneers of traditional pop music such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, and Ella Fitzgerald). Each of the shows premiered in south Florida at the Winter Park Playhouse in 2009 and 2010, respectively. When asked if these singers are relevant today, Jones responds, "I believe they're all relevant today, as the ability to interpret a lyric never goes out of style. We are talking about the masters here."
Her debut album (recorded under the name of WENDY HAYES) was released December 24, 2010 and is entitled I REMEMBER YOU.
Backed by the superb trio and special guest artist Jim Calabrese, Wendy croons swing tunes and ballads from the Great American Songbook while giving nods to pop artists such Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, and Peggy Lee. On this CD, she keeps her focus on the lyrics and melodies which enables the listener to stay focused on the story she is telling. One of her favorite quotes is by Clooney herself... "Just sing the damn song honey, it's all right there!"
From her sultry rendition of Fever (with "hot brushwork by drummer Rick Dilling" - Robin Tolleson- Hendersonville Times News) to her honest interpretation of One For My Baby, Jones makes you feel is if she is singing just for you. The trio provides the cornerstone and guest saxophonist Calabrese adds a "lush and complementary voice" - Robin Tolleson
Her new CD, which is currently in development, is taking the group in a different direction. "This time I will stretch out more and the approach will show more diversity" explains Wendy. "We have everything from swing to bebop to original music. I am hoping to create a CD that will be the "love child" of Chet Baker and Dee Dee Bridgewater...with a dash of Tierney Sutton for spice! Can you imagine THAT CD? I'm trying to!", she quiped.
In addition to serving on the voice faculty of Appalachian State University, she has also served on the voice faculty of Lees McRae College in the Performing Arts Department, where she taught voice to B.F.A. students in musical theatre.
She received additional pedagogical training with Richard Miller at the Institute of Vocal Performance/Pedagogy at Oberlin College and has worked with nationally and internationally known jazz educators Michele Weir (UCLA) Jennifer Barnes, (University of North Texas), Rosana Eckert (University of North Texas), Larry Lapin (University of Miami), Lynn Seaton (University of North Texas), and Jay Clayton (Peabody Institute)
Wendy is currently on the faculty at University of North Carolina - Asheville where she teaches jazz, classical and contemporary voice techniques to music majors. She is also on staff at The Music Academy - Asheville. where she teaches classical, musical theatre, and jazz vocal techniques. She is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS OF SINGING, THE JAZZ EDUCATION NETWORK, ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, THE MANHATTAN ASSOCIATION OF CABARETS AND CLUBS, PI KAPPA LLAMBDA, SIGMA ALPHA IOTA, and ALPHA PSI OMEGA.
THE MUSICIANS FOR I REMEMBER YOU
Andy Page, guitarist for the group, has toured the world, including a stop to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He is a recording artist and composer when he isn't touring and is featured on the CD MUSETTE GUITARS' SOUVENIR de DJANGO. Andy is also on the faculty of Appalachian State University where he teaches Jazz theory and History of Jazz/Pop Music. Andy is a member of MUSETTE GUITARS based out of Charlotte, NC and leads the extremely popular rock band, BAFOODUS.
It is a similar story for his twin brother Zack Page who has toured the world and has appeared in Asia, the Far East, the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and in all 50 states. Zack has played with artists such as Billy Higgins, Eddie Daniels, and Babik Reinhardt (son of Django Reinhardt). He can also frequently be heard playing with the hot gypsy jazz group out of Asheville NC, ONE LEG UP.
Rick Dilling on drums has a long list of recording credits to his name and has played for some of the greatest musicians of all time including the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Margaret Whiting, Clark Terry, Ernie Watts, Herb Ellis, and even "drum-battled" it out onstage with the late, great Louie Bellson. Rick is also on the faculty of Appalachian State University where he teaches jazz drumset and regularly plays with the faculty jazz ensemble.
Jim Calabrese on tenor sax and clarinet has an impressive resume having performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Skitch Henderson, Lawrence Welk, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan.