Valerie earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a major in Classical Saxophone. Not content to stop there, she went on to get her Masters Degree in Jazz Saxophone from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
"Being a well-rounded musician is something that has always been important to me," Gillespie says sincerely. And to prove it, she might easily be seen playing classical pieces with the Florida Orchestra on one night, performing with a jazz band in the park the next, and then belting it out at church on Sunday morning!
Valerie debuted last year to exceptional reviews with Branded, a CD jam-packed with straight-ahead instrumental jazz. But this year, she is proud to showcase her talents even further with Once Again, for which the title cut was co-written by Valerie and fellow Tampa musician Rick Steuart. This CD features solo vocals with the Central Florida Studio Big Band and the Central Florida Studio Orchestra, along with a wide variety of instrumentals that span all eras of jazz heritage, from the 1940’s to current day.
Valerie has been fortunate enough to have played with many of the great entertainers of our time, such as Bobby McFerrin, Rosemary Clooney, Ray Charles and more. Locally, she has performed with the likes of Dan McMillion, Theo Valentin, JoAnn Samson, Belinda Womack, and many other talented musicians from the Tampa Bay area. Her existing admirers and newfound fans alike are going to really see what she can do on Once Again.
"Talented vocals ... impressive arrangements ... and fine playing," says Bob Seymore of WUSF 89.7 Radio, "take Valerie’s music to a new level. Don’t miss it!"
Once Again will be officially kicked off by a release party being hosted by the entertainer on Sunday, March 23rd, from 2:00 5:00 p.m. at the Music Showcase on Oakfield Drive in Brandon. This event is open to the public, and autographed CDs will be available.
For further information on Valerie or her CD release party for Once Again, contact Sandie Bricker at 813-963-2300.