Sarah Rector is much more than a jazz singer. With a career in Opera and Early Music, and experience in the ska, blues, and country genres, Sarah expands the definition of jazz. Using influences from all of her musical background, Sarah creates an original sound that is uniquely her own.
From year one Sarah became enamored with her great grandfather’s fiddle playing. Yet Sarah was not confined by one genre. At age of fifteen Sarah auditioned for a chorus role at Fresno Grand Opera. She was accepted into the professional opera company and thus began her operatic career. During her time with the company Sarah performed in operas including Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s Turandot, Bernstein’s Candide just to name a few. She has also had the honor to sing chorus behind tenor, Placido Domingo.
Sarah went on to study classical voice technique at California State University, Fresno where she received her bachelor’s degree in 2011. During her time of musical exploration she gained confidence in her true calling, jazz. Sarah attended the CSU Summer Arts program for jazz Improvisation on a full scholarship. She had the privilege to work with world-class jazz musicians including Theo Bleckmann, Tim Ries and Grammy® winner Poncho Sanchez.
In 2013 Sarah moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Since her arrival to the bluff city, she has formed her own jazz trio and started playing washboard percussion for the Memphis music group the Side Street Steppers. Her performance venues have included the Memphis Zoo, Central BBQ, Memphis TEDx, the Firehaus, and RiverArts Fest.
Sarah also works close with the Memphis Slim Collaboratory. She has been an advocate for the soulsville recording house since it had first opened. The organization works closely to help musicians record and produce music at an affordable cost. It also serves as a gathering center for fellow musicians in the community. Sarah is also a member of the Young Arts Patrons Creative Council where she helps to mold the creative aspect of the organization.
In May, Sarah received her Master’s degree in Jazz and Studio Music from the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. She is a recipient of the Joe D’Gerolamo Memorial Scholarship and also received a full graduate assistantship.