Innovative Vocal Workshop and Performance Series Featuring Christine Duncan

October 31, 2023

November 2-10, Grinnell College will play host to internationally-renowned vocalist, Christine Duncan. The Director of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Voice Instructor at the University of Toronto, and founder-director of the celebrated improvising vocal group, The Element Choir, Duncan began learning her craft in church. A minister’s daughter, she performed with her musical family, The Duncans, in gospel shows on stages across North America from the age of five. When she was 15 she recorded her first album of her own original gospel tunes in Nashville.  

A musical chameleon with a near five octave range, Duncan uses her voice as an instrument, exploring its full tonal, timbral and textural range. She is involved in everything from Jazz, R&B, gospel, improvised music, sound poetry, to new music and musique actuelle. She has recorded and/or collaborated with Bob Murphy, Hugh Fraser, Miles Black, Veda Hille, Paul Plimley, Danielle Palardy Roger, Jean Martin, DB Boyko, and performed with such names as Anthony Braxton, Kenny Wheeler, Rufus Reid, P.J. Perry, Ray Charles, Linton Garner, Paul Horn, Jeff Healey, Andre Crouch, Sabeer Mateen, John Oswald, Paul Dutton, Michael Snow, Eugene Chadbourne, Nobuo Kubota and many others.  

During Duncan’s time on campus, she will work with music department students to develop vocal and improvisational skills. 


  • A vocal workshop on Wednesday, November 8 from 6-8 p.m. in Bucksbaum, Room 102 (The Egan Early Music Room). “The Voice as Instrument: Vocal Exploration and Improvisation” is open to everyone, students and the general public, and is available for singers from any background and level of experience (including no experience at all).  
  • Thursday noontime “shred hour” jam sessions on November 2 and 9 with Professors Putu Hiranmayena, Mark Laver, and special guests in the Bucksbaum Atrium.  
  • The residency will culminate in a performance with music department students and the Grinnell Jazz Ensemble, directed by Professor Mark Laver, in Herrick Chapel on Friday, November 10 from 7:30-8:30 p.m.  


These events are free and open to the public. No tickets are required.  


The college welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information about parking and accessibility is available on the college's website: Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or

Minors under the age of 18 need to be accompanied by an adult. The college also welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child's safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases, the college expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child's safety and sees that the child complies with directions of college personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus. 

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