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Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre

Joan Ellison, voice teacher

30 minute lesson $50

60 minute lesson $100

discount for multiple weekly lessons



Joan Ellison in a glamous pose

Joan Ellison
voice teacher

Joan Ellison has been praised for her “vocal prowess….[and] organic grasp of the classic songs” by Michael Feinstein. She has made a specialty of reviving Judy Garland’s repertoire from the Hollywood years to her Carnegie Hall concert and television show, restoring Ms. Garland’s glorious orchestrations from the original sources. Joan’s 2016 NYC solo cabaret debut prompted Cabaret Scenes Magazine to describe her as “Judy-esque in appearance and…a near voice double for her idol.”

Her intimate understanding of retro musical styles comes from transcribing over 250 piano and vocal arrangements note-for-note from original recordings, bringing distinct freshness and authenticity to her interpretations of classic American standards. At Michael Feinstein’s invitation, she serves as Editor of the Judy Garland Carnegie Hall Concert Restoration Project for the Judy Garland Heirs Trust.

The 2019-’20 season kicked off in June with a song-for-song recreation of Judy Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall concert hosted by her daughter, Lorna Luft, conducted by Michael Berkowitz (Liza Minnelli’s former conductor), with Joan and Broadway vocalists Debbie Gravitte and Karen Mason. It was the first airing of the new arrangement restorations, played by a 40-piece orchestra at the historic Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Earlier the same weekend, Joan performed a concert at the annual Judy Garland Festival in Judy’s birthplace of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Other season highlights include “Get Happy! A Judy Garland Celebration” with the New Haven (CT), Bartlesville (OK), and Ashland (OH) Symphonies and the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra, and “The American Musical on Stage and Screen” as part of the 2019 Bard Music Festival (NY). “A Tribute to Judy and Liza at the Palladium,” with Carolann Sanita and conductor Michael Berkowitz, will play TheatreZone (FL). 

The 2018-’19 season included the debut of “A Tribute to Judy and Liza at the Palladium” with the Santa Rosa Pops and conductor Michael Berkowitz, “Get Happy! A Garland Celebration” with the Toledo Symphony, “Garland to Gershwin” with the Evansville Philharmonic, and multiple Holiday Pops appearances singing retro holiday hits with the Erie Philharmonic and Augusta Symphony. Joan made her Cleveland Pops Orchestra debut at Severance Hall in 2005 and has since sung more than 45 concerts with the Pops, National Repertory Orchestra, Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Ohio Valley Symphony, Wheaton Pops, Enid Symphony, Canton Symphony, Bemus Bay Pops, Tuscarawas Philharmonic, Lakeside Symphony, and others.

Joan’s one-woman theatre piece, All Happiness, Judy Garland, enjoyed a sold-out premiere at The Winter Park Playhouse (FL) in 2017, with reprises at the Holland Theatre and the Chagrin Falls Performing Arts Center. In addition to touring the country with shows she co-created, Joan has played classic leading-lady roles, including Julie in Carousel, Nellie in South Pacific, Lizzie in 110 in the Shade, Eliza in My Fair Lady (in concert), and Claudia in Nine. In 2010, Joan released her debut album, “A Date With Judy! Joan Ellison Sings Judy Garland,” and followed up in 2015 with “Retrophonic Gershwin,” featuring her arrangements based on original recordings of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Joan earned M.M.T. and B. Mus. (voice performance) degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Daune Mahy. Further studies in popular vocal styles were with Leon Thurman, and piano study with Robert McDonald and Sharyl Smith.

Video link: “Stormy Weather”