Singer/songwriter/pianist and visiting Master Artist AverySunshine will headline an evening of heart-to-heart soul, rhythm & blues, and gospel music at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in the Fine Arts Hall at Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville. Sharing the stage to perform songs on their own and with the headliner will be the Santa Fe Singers, the college’s student choir, and choirs from Passage Family Church, Springhill Missionary Baptist Church and Upper Room Church.
Tickets are $15 main floor and $12 balcony for adults; $9 for seniors, children and University of Florida students; and free for Santa Fe College faculty, staff and students with college identification cards. For ticket information, call the Box Office at 352-395-4181 or visit the Fine Arts ticket website at: http://www.sfcollege.edu/finearts
AverySunshine’s appearance is part of the SF College Master Artist series that enables students to interact with and learn from visiting performers. During her time on campus, the singer will meet with students, talk about her career trajectory, and answer questions about how to enter and succeed in the music business.
“I’m thrilled that AverySunshine and the church choirs will come together on stage,” said Fine Arts Department Chairperson Alora Haynes. “It’s becoming a tradition to invite the choirs to join a Master Artist’s concert and it gives people in our community—as well as our students—the opportunity to interact with a music professional. Our students, the choir members and the audience can all look forward to being uplifted and inspired!”
With influences that include classical music, jazz, popular and soul tunes as well as hymns, AverySunshine has recorded two albums with her musical partner, guitarist/producer/songwriter Dana Johnson. USA Today called her self-titled first album “refreshingly original” and The Washington Post described it as “a radiant brand of soul.” “The Sunroom,” her second album, was released in partnership with Shanachie Records.
In 2010, AverySunshine won Best New Artist at the Reader’s Choice Awards. The following year, JET Magazine named her one of their five rising Indie Artists. She starred in I Dream, a musical drama directed by Jasmine Guy, and appeared on BBC 2 Live with Jools Holland.
She has worked as choral director on the theatrical production of Dreamgirls that featured Jennifer Holliday. Her videos “All in My Head” and “Ugly” had heavy rotation on Music Choice, VH1 Soul and Centric. She has toured with Ledisi and shared the stage with Eric Benet and B.B. King, among others, performed as a keyboardist with Jennifer Holliday and Tyler Perry, and worked as musical director for Michael Bublé and David Foster.
Like many singers, AverySunshine (real name: Denise Nicole White) got her start performing in and directing church choirs, but not before she had been moved by other inspirations. As a child in Pennsylvania, she heard popular music at her parents’ house parties and fell in love with the piano when she heard a classmate play. She began playing piano herself at 7, started studying classical music at 11, expanded her repertoire to jazz and had her first recital at 13. While still a teenager, she filled in for her aunt as choir director at a Catholic Church service and then found similar work at other churches.
She sang in her high school choir, studied piano and philosophy at Spelman College in Atlanta, and performed in a gospel/R&B singing duo, DaisyRew, with a college friend. Also in Atlanta, she served as Minister of Music at St. Paul AME Church.
The concert by AverySunshine is sponsored in part by SF College and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and Visit Gainesville, a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council.
For more information or photographs, call SF College Fine Arts Department Chairperson Alora Haynes, 352-395-5296.