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Biography

Shirley Nanette has appeared as guest soloist in concert throughout the United States and Canada, on both commercial and public television. She has performed at many of Oregon’s musical events including: the Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz, Cascade Music Festival, Sunriver Music Festival, and each year at Oregon Art Museum’s “Museum After Hours” Gospel Meets Jazz concert.

Shirley was honored by the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade with her own float, two consecutive years, from which she sang through the entire length of the parade.

She has been the opening act for Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons, Billy Eckstine, Diane Schuur, Lou Rawls and Eddie Harris and substituted for Tony Bennett with the Spokane Symphony when he became ill. Each year, Shirley performs with the Woody Hite Big Band and the George Reinmiller Big Band, usually in outdoor summer concerts.

Shirley Made her debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1981, conducted by Norman Leyden. She appears as one of the “Pops” concert favorites. She has also appeared as guest soloist with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Seattle, Spokane, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Tucson, San Diego, Honolulu, Long Beach, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

In 1983, competing against several thousand contestants throughout the United States, she won the First “Star Search” aka “Fantasy” national talent competition on NBC Television. Shirley was recognized as “Best Female Vocalist in Portland” from 1981 to 1991. She appeared in the stage play “The Colored Museum” written by George C. Wolfe, in a parody of Josephine Baker. In 2000, she appeared in Truman Capote’s “The Grass Harp” performed at the Lakewood Theatre in Lake Oswego, for which she received an Artistic Merit award from the theater company.

Shirley was chosen twice as the only jazz vocalist to be represented by the Oregon Arts Commission. In May of the following year, she began the task of making her first recording entitled “See You Later”. It was released in 1992. The album includes compositions of Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Irving Berlin, Michel LeGrand and George and Ira Gershwin.

Shirley has been inducted in the Oregon Music Hall of Fame for her dedication to jazz and her long career.

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