Department of Music

Jon Hendricks Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert

Photo of jazz vocalist Sunny Wilkinson guest artist at the virtual 2021 UToledo Jon Hendricks Memorial Jazz Scholarship ConcertGuest Jazz Vocalist Sunny Wilkinson

Sunday, March 28, 2021

  • 3 p.m. Concert - YouTube/Facebook Premiere 
  • 4 p.m. A Conversation with Sunny Wilkinson and Pianist Ron Newman

“Strong and powerful, soft and sensual, emotional and thoughtful, passion and perfection” are all words used to describe the voice of jazz singer and educator Sunny Wilkinson. Sunny and pianist Ron Newman are the guests for the Virtual 2021 Jon Hendricks Memorial Scholarship concert. A post-concert reception and Q&A with Sunny and Ron will be hosted by UToledo faculty member Norman Damschroder.

RSVP Today!  

Watch the concert on your favorite social media venue

(Note:  YouTube and Facebook premiere links below will go to the concert video when available, check back here shortly before the concert time.)

YouTube Premiere Concert

Facebook premiere Concert

About the Jon Hendricks Scholarship

Jon Hendricks, a Toledo jazz legend, was one of the originators of “vocalese,” a jazz singing technique in which a vocalist improvises lyrics to existing instrumental songs and replaces many instruments with their voice and that of other vocalists. Hendricks was also a beloved member of the UToledo Music Department faculty in the Jazz Studies program for many years before he passed away in November 2017. Normally tickets would be sold to the concert to support the scholarship program. But this year's virtual concert is free. To contribute to the Vocal Jazz Progress Fund at the University of Toledo, visit and enter "vocal jazz" in the Search Funds box.

About Sunny Wilkinson

Photo of jazz vocalist Sunny Wilkinson in concertJazz Vocalist

Over the years, Sunny Wilkinson has sung with The Count Basie Band, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, Mark Murphy, Milt Hinton, Kenny Wheeler, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Ron Carter, Curtis Fuller, Edgar Winter, and Gene Bertoncini, among others. A busy travel schedule has her presenting clinics and performances at universities and jazz festivals, as well as jazz clubs, across the United States.

Sunny has also made significant contributions in jazz education. She has been on the jazz faculty at Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, Cal State Northridge, Fullerton College, and the Dick Grove School of Music, as well as teaching numerous private voice students. Presently she is adjunct faculty at Western Michigan University and an artist in residence at the University of Michigan. She served as a President of the Michigan chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators and the past chairperson for IAJE’s Women’s Caucus. Many of her former students are now the heads of vocal jazz programs at universities around the country and have successful careers as jazz performers and recording artists.

Sunny’s fourth release, A Gentle Time, When Sunny Meets Tom, is a duo collaboration with the legendary L.A. pianist Tom Garvin. Gene Bertoncini says, "I love this CD from top to bottom. It’s just so exquisite. Everything she sings is so right. The little different sounds in her voice and the way she sustains things. And Tom’s playing is magnificent."

Sunny is thrilled about her new release, Into the Light, a celebration of family and her long association with her band. Jazz critic Paula Edelstein says of Into the Light,

“Acclaimed jazz vocalist and educator Sunny Wilkinson offers exceptional interpretations of music from various genres as well as several original compositions composed with her pianist/composer husband Ron Newman on her latest release on Sunchance Music titled Into The Light. Sunny’s multi-octave vocals are delivered with passion and perfection as she reflects on personal experiences that have become her songs. The set list of intimate ballads and up-tempo gems are offered with an emotional and thoughtful approach that her listeners are sure to enjoy.”

Read Sunny's Full Bio

Last Updated: 3/26/21