Vocalist, Vocal Coach, Entertainer

Join us for the 2103 Showcase of Stars!

 

 

Connie Olson Presents!
Showcase 2013
Famous Daves BBQ & Blues Club

June 9, 2013 5:00 p.m.

The Band

Brian Ziemniak – Keyboards
Rick Carlson – Keyboards
Graydon Peterson – Bass
Vinnie Rose – Guitar
Haralds Bondaris – Drums
Scott Fultz – Saxophone
Connie Olson – Vocals

Special Guests: Deb Brown Ali Washington

Special thanks to the members of the band for their time and for giving these new performers such a unique experience.

 

Martha AlkinsMartha Alkins

This is my fourth showcase with Connie. It’s been great having her in my life and having my music back. I still take care of Izzy, Connie’s cat. He’s twenty-two years old and going strong. I also have the great pleasure of being part of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival this summer. I’m looking forward to that!

Bryan BassettBryan Bassett

Bryan was born in the Turks and Caicos Islands and raised in Freeport, Bahamas in the Caribbean. He’s been in music just about all of his life playing in several bands. Music is his passion. He has auditioned for the X-Factor and America’s Got Talent. He loves biking, bowling and sometimes boxing and hanging out with his friends.

MaKenzie DeGraicaMaKenzie DeGracia-Sytsma

MaKenzie is an 8th grader in Bloomington, MN who describes herself as loving, funny, and outgoing.  While her interests are many, she particularly likes to sing, dance, shop, and watch movies. Highlights of the past year include a trip to Turkey over Christmas and her first session in a recording studio, a place where she hopes to spend a lot of time in the future.

Rebecca FogelRebecca Fogel

Rebecca Fogel has always loved music and has been singing since she was a toddler. She sang in her junior high and high school choirs and performed in musicals at camp. She performed with her Dad at ARC’s gala benefit in February of this year. Her iPod contains an eclectic mix of jazz, pop, rock and roll and show tunes. She is hard to beat at music trivia games! She especially likes music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Some of her favorite artists are The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elvis, Bonnie Raitt and her dad.

Sally LederSally Leder

Sally is in her sixth year of working with Connie, and it has been a great experience.  She has learned so much about music and performing. Sally’s number one interest is Jazz and Swing.  She loves the big band sound and the Jazz trio or quartet.  Some of her favorite singers are Frank Sinatra, Steve Tyrell, June Christy, Nina Simone and of late, Peggy Lee. Sally says that singing makes a gloomy day feel sunny and happy.

Barbara McKernanBarbara McKernan

Barbara’s first love is music – from Baroque to Bruce Springsteen, everything in between and more!  She remembers memorizing and singing songs off the radio when she was five years old.  She has been in choirs and chorales ever since, but rarely sang solo until she met the wonderfully encouraging voice coach, Connie Olson.  She also plays recorders in an Early Music quartet out of the St. Paul Conservatory.

 

2013 Showcase Program

Comments (0) Jun 03 2013

2012 Showcase

Comments (0) Jul 11 2012

Connie Olson Presents Showcase 2012!


Martha Alkins

Martha is a veterinary technician who has been working with Connie for two years. Last summer, Martha had the great pleasure of recording an EP at WildSound Studio. She released that EP at Famous Dave’s last October and has been working towards getting it booked to sing at different venues.

Martha will be selling her EP at the Showcase and hopes all who listen to her will enjoy the music as much as she enjoys performing! Many thanks to Connie for all you do!

 

MaKenzie DeGracia-Sytsma

MaKenzie is 13 years old and lives in Bloomington, Minnesota. She is in the 7th grade at Beacon Prep school. She has been participating in school musical productions and talent shows since pre-school and has wanted to sing since her first public performance at the age of two. Besides singing, MaKenzie enjoys dance. She is currently studying hip-hop and has previous training in ballet and tap. She has found that her dance training as well as her participation in sports such as kick-boxing and volleyball give her the discipline and breath control that are so important in vocal training. She has a talent for rhythm and loves to challenge herself to grow her talents. Her long-term goals include auditioning for “The X Factor” and a career as a singer.

Rebecca Fogel

Rebecca Fogel has always loved music and has been singing since she was a toddler. She sang in her junior high and high school choirs and performed in musicals at camp. Her iPod contains an eclectic mix of everything from jazz to rock and roll to show tunes. She especially likes music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Some of her favorite artists are The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elvis, Bonnie Raitt, and her dad.

 

Sally Leder

It is hard to believe that this is the fifth year I have appeared in Connie’s showcase. Where has the time gone? I have learned so much in these wonderful years. And I have discovered that I especially love swing and jazz, so this is what my play list mainly consists of. Two years ago, I was fortunate to have one of my dreams come true. With Connie’s encouragement, I recorded an EP with some of the top musicians in town and it has been played on several jazz stations around the country. What a thrill! I hope to keep singing as long as I can because it is my passion and gives me so much joy. I am looking forward to sharing my joy with you.

Melissa Monson

Melissa Monson is 24 years old and is a recent graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis. She loves to listen to a wide range of musical genres including pop, rock, country, and hip-hop, but her favorite is classic rock. Melissa has loved to sing ever since she could remember, but only started taking lessons with Connie Olson this spring. Even though she has never taken lessons until now, she is progressing quickly and is excited to expand her vocal skills and knowledge. Currently, she is also learning to play the electric guitar.

 

Maryann Sullivan

Maryann Sullivan’s passion for jazz began at an early age, when her father, a local trumpeter, played his jazz records in their home. She studied music in college, and played flute and saxophone in the Augsburg Jazz program. Maryann is also an on-air radio personality and voice talent in the Twin Cities, and has worked in a variety of radio formats and settings. She has recently taken her love of jazz to the next stage, venturing out as a singer. Maryann loves to swing, and takes classics from the books of famous singers such as Blossom Dearie, Peggy Lee, and other great swingers. She is equally at home singing recognizable standards as well as many lesser-known tunes, and puts her unique stamp on everything she sings.

Comments (0) May 26 2012

The Stars of Student Showcase 2011

Macy Kommer

Macy is eleven years old, and has been writing songs since she was five. Macy loves to sing and write stories, and she writes lyrics for her favorite cousin’s band! Macy is in fifth grade and is in the Dimensions Academy for the gifted and talented. She loves rock, country and EXTREMELY heavy metal. Macy likes bands such as Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria, Nevershoutnever, and Hollywood Undead.

Barbara McKernan

Barbara McKernan has been singing in church and choirs her entire life. As a kid she studied piano and ballet and took part in her high school musicals. She has been a member of Twin City choral groups, performing both contemporary and classical music. She studied recorder, music theory and voice at MacPhail Center for Music, and is thrilled to be a new student of Connie Olson. A retired teacher, she can now devote her time to her great passion, music.

Martha Alkins

Martha is finishing her first year with Connie and loving it! Martha is a Vet Technician who takes care of Connie’s cat, Isadore, and then stays to get coaching from Connie. Martha hopes to record her first CD this summer, and plans to continue with Connie as long as long as she can.

Sally Leder

My dream came true in 2010—with help from Connie—when last July, I recorded a CD with some of the most talented musicians in town. It was an experience I’ll never forget. A collection of six of my favorite songs, the CD entitled “Once Upon A Dream” was not intended for sale, but as a gift to family and friends who have been so supportive of my singing adventure. The icing on the cake was when some cuts were played on our local jazz station and one in Miami. I hope to continue singing because music is in my heart and soul.

Rebecca Fogel

Rebecca Fogel has always loved music and has been singing since she was a toddler. She sang in her junior high and high school choirs and performed in musicals at camp. Her iPod contains an eclectic mix of everything from jazz to rock and roll to show tunes. She especially likes music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Some of her favorite artists are The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Elvis, Bonnie Raitt, and her dad.

John Welch

John is a native Minnesotan and now resides in Albuquerque, NM. He has always loved playing guitar, singing and entertaining. About a year ago, Connie encouraged him to sing at Elder Care facilities and he loved it. He has now had acouple of gigs and hopes to continue a rewarding career in music!

Rich Reeder

Rich has written and produced award-winning films that have taken him to the far-flung corners of the world. His second career, as on-camera talent for TV commercials, has led to being cast in stage shows at the Guthrie (Streetcar Named Desire) and Theatre in the Round (Ring Round the Moon). His most recent theatre project was with Brazen Theatre, where he played a high school teacher in an anti-bullying series of one-act plays.

Tara Rogan

Tara Rogan has been working with Connie for the past two years and lives in Minneapolis. She was active in theater throughout high school and also took voice lessons at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her major influences include The Beatles, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin.

Amanda Stewart

Singing is an adrenaline rush for me, and is not something many people know I can do. It’s one of my long kept secrets of “can doʼs,” due to how shy I was when I was young! Singing is an outlet of creativity and expression, and can make any bad day a little better. There is nothing like cranking up the music in your car driving to your destination and singing your heart out to a soulful song. Bottom line…I love to sing!

Comments (0) Jun 08 2011

Learning Everything in A Song: Vocal Coaching

Ali Washington, Katie Gearty, Connie Olson, Mary Louise Knutson, Andy LaCasse, Greg Schutte, Mike Cramer

Ali Washington, Katie Gearty, Connie Olson, Mary Louise Knutson, Andy LaCasse, Greg Schutte, Mike Cramer

While performing and recording are huge parts of my life, being a vocal coach is one of the most rewarding.  I love every minute of it!

I coach students on an individual basis. I have no set study plan. Voices are not the same, the same is true of expression.

We all have different anatomies that create vocal sounds that are unique to us, our very own voice. So, we can truthfully never sound like anyone else. As our experiences form and shape us in life our communication in delivering a song will also be like no one else. My students pick songs that they like to sing, not songs that I want them to sing, unless they are age inappropriate. We have fun discovering what each song means and why they picked that certain song. I use a karaoke machine so they can use their own CD’s. My machine pitch transposes and “ghosts” out the original vocal track.  So, there is no need to buy karaoke CD’s, they sing with the CD that they are used to singing with, if we need to find a key that works with the individual voice we can, then we begin!

Read More

Comments (2) Mar 29 2009

Connie’s Rising Stars!

starsIn addition to recording and performing I also am a vocal coach and I absolutely LOVE it!

This photo is from Rossi’s Blue Star Room, downtown Minneapolis. I have hosted three showcases and this was the second one in June of 2007. These are my students and we do a performance onstage with musicians (including rehearsal with the band the day before)…..the real deal!

They work hard all year long with me and get out on stage in front of family and friends and sing.   Their talent and grace under pressure blow me away because, of course, I am the one that is the most nervous.

Left to right: Bradley Daniels, Sally Jaffray, Freyja Hafner,  Ali  Washington, Gabe Fink, Max Fink and Rebecca Fogel.  Rossi’s 2007

Comments (2) Feb 20 2009