Jan Wheaton, one of Madison's longtime favorite songstresses is a transplant from Cherryvale, Kansas, where she was born. She first performed publicly at the age of eight. Jan's mother, an accomplished musician herself, gave her daughter both piano and voice lessons for about nine years. Jan also played clarinet in high school, but only because it allowed her to be in the marching band!! (That was long before the age of the portable keyboard!) After high school, it was off to the University of Kansas at Lawrence, where she received a B.A. in microbiology. Her earliest influences as a vocalist were Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson, who later led her into a strong appreciation for the work of Billy Holliday, Dinah Washington, and more recently Roberta Flack, divas Schurr and Kraal, and others. While in School at KU, she worked frequently with a jazz trio at a local tavern. During those years, she also appeared at the legendary BLUE ROOM in Kansas City, Mo., with the late Reginald Buckner and in Lawrence with the Carmel Jones Trio.

Performing has been irregular but constant since arriving in Madison in 1964. She has worked with well-known area musicians such as the late Ted Jackson, John Thulin, Joan Wildman, Dave Stoler, Hans Sturm, Hanah Jon Taylor, Cliff Frederickson, Jane Reynolds, and Harris Lemberg, and has performed in most of Madison's clubs during the past 40+ years. She "opened" Betty Carter's 1982 concert, and has been a frequent participant in local charitable benefits. She appeared with "Richard Davis and Friends" at the world-famous SWEET BASIL jazz club in New York in 1989. Her 1989 release, SMALL WORLD, ISN'T IT? featuring pianist Peter Lundberg, bassist Richard Davis, and Percussionists Jim Latimer and Michael Weiss, is still available locally. Her CD... LOVE'S 3 FACES... with Harris Lemberg is available from the artists. Wheaton was the 2001 "Isthmus Jazz Personality of the Year", the recipient of the 2005 Madison Area Music Association (MAMA) "Lifetime Achievement Award," and the MAMA award for "Best Female Vocalist" for 2005. Her most recent CD musical offering, EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE with her current accompanist, Matan Rubinstein, can be found in area retail outlets and at all of her gigs! Currently, she has her own quintet, and can be found many evenings at various area clubs. Jan now has a M.S. in bacteriology, and is an Emerita Assistant Dean of Students at UW-Madison. When she is not at the fitness center, she now spends the bulk of her time in pursuit of that "after-hours thing". She has developed into a unique song-stylist . . . . Madison is very proud!

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