Jordan Evans will open the 2018 Pickin' in the Park concert series at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2.
Evans, 18, is one of four local acts selected for a new Pickin' feature called "6@6." Each week, a different act will open the concert with six songs beginning at 6 p.m. sharp. Evans is opening for Wood & Wire, a bluegrass band out of Austin, Texas, and Cicada Rhythm, an Americana band from North Carolina.
A 2018 graduate of Vision Charter Academy, Evans plans to study holistic nursing and music in college. She has performed locally in Paonia High School musical productions, at the Paradise Theatre and other venues with The Paonia Players, and in 2017 opened the annual Cherry Days festivities at Paonia Town Park with her soulful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.
Among her favorite performers are Sammi Smith, John Legend, Adele, and Giorgia; Rhythm and Blues and Indie Folk are among her favorite genres, both to listen to and to perform. "I just love how different they are. They're really beautiful," she said.
"I've been singing really my whole life," said Evans. Starting at a young age, parents, Calvin and Liz Evans, encouraged her and her siblings to participate in performance arts. Her siblings, Elijah, Mariah, Asia and Aniya, are also talented vocalists. By age 6 Jordan was singing in her church choir, and soon began singing solos. "I just really started to love it," she said.
In addition to her parents, and her grandmother, PHS swing choir teacher Dee Holt has had a big influence on her singing career. She has performed multiple solos in PES musicals and played Emily Hobbs in the 2016 PHS presentation of Elf the Musical. "Dee has helped me so much in the growth of my voice," she said.
Her senior year, with help from voice teacher Jan Tuin, Evans was selected from thousands of students across the state to participate in All-State Choir. She was also among 36 students in the state and one of two on the Western Slope named to the All-State Jazz Choir.
In addition to being the first PHS student to perform in the jazz choir, she also received a solo, which Holt called a tremendous honor. "I just felt proud of both of us for all that we'd accomplished," said Evans.
Now in its 11th season, the free Pickin' in the Park series is held Thursdays during August at the Howard Berkman Stage at Paonia Town Park. Beginning at 7 p.m., KVNF Public Radio will broadcast the show live.
Evans was urged by her friend, Sadie Miller, to perform for the 6@6 series. Sadie's dad is also Rob Miller, who founded Pickin' Productions. Without giving it away, Evans said she will perform a song by Alicia Keyes, but it won't be "If I Ain't Got You," which she performed two years ago for PHS Dessert Theatre show. She and friend Savannah Kauffmann of Bayfield a singer/guitarist, will perform an Ed Sheeran duet. "She's pretty amazing," said Evans.
Sisters Mariah and Aniya will sing harmony on one of her six songs.
Evans said she would like to become a professional singer, but she also wants to keep her expectations real and her ego in check. If she gets to the point where she can perform at whatever town she lands in after college, "That's enough for me, because I just love music," she said. "Whatever happens, happens."
Other local acts selected for 6@6 include Justin Evan Thompson on Aug. 9, Taylor Hawk on Aug. 16, and Pure Weed on Aug. 23.
Pickin' concerts run through Aug. 23, at Paonia Town Park. Admission is free, and local food, beer, cider and wine are available. Pickin' Productions is also coordinating with the Paonia Creative Coalition to provide children's activities at The Kids Zone. KVNF Public Radio will air the main acts live beginning at 7 p.m. For more information and a complete list of performers, visit pickinproductions.com.