Photo By: Chi Brown

Photo By: Chi Brown

"A Blend of wiry strength and ethereal charm that set her apart from the female vocalists crowding the jazz scene... Without compromising her debt to the most stringent jazz grammar, her light-against-dark phrasing revealed a love of pop and soul that gave fresh, heartfelt meaning..."

-Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Sun Times

 


"Lenora Zenzalai Helm is a singer with all the right stuff: a musician in the broadest and most complete definition of the word, with an expansive vision that subsumes category. The breadth of her expression is staggering…her technical prowess is phenomenal…superb creative arranging skills…thoughtful composer. (She) has plenty in her arsenal of talents."

- Pianist/Composer, Stanley Cowell

 

"When faced with the question, "Can anything good come from the Southside of Chicago?", there are two obvious answers: First Lady Michelle Obama, and North Carolina Central University Assistant Professor Lenora Helm Hammonds."

Myra Wooten, NCCU Now (Nov 10, 2014)

         

Lenora Helm Hammonds Named a Lifetime Achiever by Marquis Who’s Who

Ms. Helm has been endorsed by Marquis Who’s Who as a leader in the music industry

DURHAM, NC, August 29, 2017, Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to name Lenora Helm Hammonds (pka Lenora Zenzalai Helm) a Lifetime Achiever. An accomplished listee, Ms. Helm celebrates many years’ experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Lenora Helm Hammonds is a jazz vocalist, vocal musicianship coach, composer, lyricist and educator with six solo recordings, her own recording and publishing company, Zenzalai Music, and an extensive discography with some of the biggest names in jazz and contemporary music. As a TV and film music composer, most recent music credits include writing the musical score for the children’s play, Indigo Blue: A Reimagining of the Pied Piper for Walltown Children’s Theater, Durham, NC. Other notable composition credits include Ms. Helm’s compositions featured in several Black History Month promo campaigns on the ESPN network. Brief composer highlights include jazz composer awards from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke’s New Jazz Works and the MacDowell Colony composer fellowship, and penning lyrics recorded to the compositions of John Coltrane, Andrew Hill, Jason Moran, Wayne Shorter and Branford Marsalis. She holds a B.M. in Film Scoring/Voice from Berklee College of Music, and an M.M. in Jazz Performance/Voice from East Carolina University where she was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society. She is presently engaged in doctoral studies toward a Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education degree at Boston University, with an eye on completion in 2018. Helm is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at North Carolina Central University in Durham, and directs their award winning NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble.

Helm’s achievements in music have spanned more than two decades garnering her inclusion as a subject of biographical record since 2005 for Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in the World, and most recently, a 2018 Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a past president of International Women in Jazz and previously served as co-founder and artistic director of The Harmony Program, an organization that provided after-school music education programs in underserved communities in New York City. 2016-2017 academic year included achievements as the 2016 Mayor’s Award recipient from Sister Cities Durham, NC for promoting international understanding, and a Fulbright residency at the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, Denmark. A 2014 Salzburg Global Citizenship Program Fellow, Fulbright Senior Specialist, and former U.S. Jazz Ambassador under the auspices of the State Department and Kennedy Center, her achievements garnered accolades as “...the voice of her generation,” by Jazziz Magazine. She has appeared in renowned jazz festivals and venues worldwide, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Schomburg Center’s Women in Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festivals, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Capetown Jazz Festival, South Africa and Fiji Jazz & Blues Festival. She appears on recordings with renowned jazz musicians Andrew Hill, Stanley Cowell, Donald Brown, Dave Liebman, Ron Carter, Antonio Hart, Branford Marsalis, Mulgrew Miller, has toured with Michael Franks and Freddie Jackson, and has touring, recording and performing credits in many genres -- including R&B, Neo-Soul, and Pop, Theater and Opera. Her 2009 critically acclaimed Chronicles of a Butterfly CD release, produced by Branford Marsalis, was recorded live and featured pianist Mulgrew Miller. Of her six recordings, her latest CD, I Love Myself When I’m Laughing, was listed on Independent Ear’s 30 Recommended 2012 Record Releases amongst an esteemed list of jazz artists. Joining the distinction with her previous releases (in 2003 and 2004) garnering inclusion on the 2013 GRAMMY ballot for consideration of nomination in vocal jazz and arranging categories. In May, 2014, she was named a 2015 quarter-finalist as GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year, chosen amongst 7000 nominees.

Her future music endeavors include supporting and building programs for artists. To that end, she is the founder of online music companies, providing access and opportunity for musicians worldwide in LenoraHelm.online,(www.LenoraHelm.online)  Vocal Musicianship Academy (www.VocalMusicianshipAcademy.com ) Vocal Jazz Online’s Vocal Jazz Summer Camp (www.VocalJazzSummerCamp.com) and (www.VocalJazzOnline.com).  She designed and implemented an innovative training and job preparation program for the next generation of Teaching Artists initiating an online program, the North Carolina Central University Teaching Artist Certificate Program.

Since 2007, Lenora now makes Durham, NC her home - where she lives with her husband, Fred Hammonds. Learn more at www.LenoraHelm.com and LenoraHelm.online.

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