by Ellen Moore Griffin, Managing Director of Capriccio Columbus
We chatted with local jazz singer Rachel Sepulveda as she prepares for several concerts around Columbus, including Capriccio Columbus’ Gala with The Bobby Floyd Trio on Saturday, March 9. She performs all over Columbus, most recently at the Black Point Restaurant, The Refectory and as a frequent guest soloist with Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra.
Ellen: Could you tell me about your background?
Rachel: I completed my undergrad work at Capital University as a jazz studies major, then began teaching and performing as a freelance musician. I did this for eight years leading my own jazz group, singing in cover bands, directing church and charter school choirs, teaching privately, leading music at summer camps and also offering classes at the Jazz Arts Group Jazz Academy downtown. I finally decided to get my masters of music and attended Western Michigan University, graduating in 2017. While there I sang with the vocal jazz ensemble Gold Company and directed another vocal ensemble called GCII.
Ellen: Which singers do you consider inspirational to your development as a jazz artist?
Rachel: My personal favorite jazz singers are Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. Their approaches always spoke most deeply to me. But, of course, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday also played a large role in my early jazz development (as they should for any serious jazz singer). I’m excited to sing Ella’s “Shiny Stockings” with the Capriccio Jubilee Singers at the gala concert.
Ellen: Who’s on your playlist right now?
Rachel: Gregory Porter has stolen my whole heart, and the Australian band, Hiatus Kaiyote is blowin’ my mind. I’m also on a bit of a neo-soul kick right now, so I’ve been jamming a lot to Jill Scott, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Floetry.
Ellen: What do you love about Columbus in general and about the arts scene in particular?
Rachel: I think the best parts about Columbus have to be the people and the bike trails for me. The people are warm, welcoming, patient, kind and accepting. And the bike trails just always rock in the summer and fall for either running or biking to clear the mind. I do think Columbus needs a beach, though, but then again I’m a Long Island girl who has always been homesick for the ocean. But I think Columbus would make an amazing beach town because everyone is so artsy-fartsy and laid back.
Ellen: What do you do for fun when you’re not performing?
Rachel: Well, the performing is the best of my fun at this current time in life. When I’m not performing I’m actually working on prerequisite coursework to get into a nursing school program in the near future. I really like the idea of serving the community in this new way and perhaps can find a way to weave my music into this career shift… kind of like music therapy or something. I’m also really into self care, so yoga and running is a big thing in my life right now.
Catch Rachel next as special guest soloist for the Capriccio Columbus Gala concert on Satruday, March 9 at the York Golf Club, with the Capriccio Jubilee Singers and the Bobby Floyd Trio. The event features a fantastic silent auction, gourmet nibbles and a cash bar. Tickets can be purchased online at capricciocolumbus.org/tickets and all proceeds benefit Capriccio Columbus, a family of professional-level choirs that perform all over Columbus.