Biography of Afro Blue
Howard University's premier vocal jazz ensemble, Afro Blue was formed in the spring of 2002. Since its inception, this dynamic jazz choir has quickly gained national attention.
In 2003, Afro Blue received the Downbeat Magazine Award for Best College Jazz Group. The following year they received another Downbeat Award for Outstanding College Jazz Choir. In 2007, Howard University graduate student Quincy Phillips also won a Downbeat Award for Best College Jazz Arrangement for his treatment of the Dietz and Schwartz standard "Alone Together," which he arranged specifically for Afro Blue.
Afro Blue has performed at many prestigious venues in and around Washington, DC, including the Library of Congress, the Carmichael Auditorium at the National Museum of American History, the State Department, the Lincoln Theatre, the Warner Theatre, the Japanese Cultural and Exchange Center, Twins Jazz Club, and HR-57.
Afro Blue has the distinct honor of being the first jazz choir from an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to be selected to perform at the International Association for Jazz Education Annual Conference, an honor they have received twice (2004 and 2007). A major highlight for the group has been the development of a very special performance relationship with world-class pianist and Howard University alumnae, Geri Allen. Afro Blue has performed the debut of her piece "For the Healing of the Nations: A Sacred Jazz Suite for the Victims and Survivors of 9/11" in September 2006, in Camden, NJ, and again in October 2007 in Atlanta, GA. In addition, they appeared with Geri Allen, Ron Carter and Jimmy Cobb in a 2006 performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Most recently, Afro Blue was selected to perform their rendition of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (also referred to as the "National Black Anthem") in September 2007 at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner.
Biography of Connaitre Miller
Connaitre Miller is currently Asociate Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Howard University in Washington, DC where she directs Afro Blue, teaches vocal jazz improvisation, vocal jazz arranging, and gives individual voice lessons.
A native of Kansas, Miller received a B.M. in Music Education, and M.M. in piano performance from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS, and pursued postgraduate study at the University of Northern Colorado in choral conducting with secondary emphasis in jazz pedagogy.
Preceding her tenure at Howard University, Miller taught for six years in Adelaide, South Australia, where she built a well-respected jazz program at the Elder Conservatory of Music, University of Adelaide.
In addition to her work at Howard University, Connaitre Miller performs as a solo jazz vocalist having appeared at many jazz festivals throughout the U.S. She also conducts lectures and workshops on jazz singing and jazz choir techniques in the U.S. and abroad. She has served five times as a member of the International Association for Jazz Education (AIJE) Teaching and Training Institute Faculty, conducted several All-State Jazz Choirs and is currently member of the IAJE resource team.