Desiree Bannister — After School Programs Manager (Miami)

Desiree Bannister is a 23-year-old vocalist, songwriter, arranger and educator from Montclair, New Jersey. Her music draws inspiration from storytelling, new and old, told through jazz, funk, soul and theatre. After receiving a Jazz Vocal Performance degree from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in 2017, Desiree returned to her alma mater to pursue a  Master’s degree in Arts Presenting and Live Entertainment Management. Since her start at University, she has been a member of Downbeat Magazine’s award-winning Jazz Vocal 1 ensemble. She has performed with artists such as Cyrille Aimee, Gretchen Parlato, Becca Stevens and Dee Dee Bridgewater. In addition, Desiree can be seen as the frontwoman of the band SHENZI, an original music collective she formed with other UM musicians. Since its creation in 2016, the band has gone on to record and tour across the East Coast. Aside from her vocal career, Desiree hopes to continue a career in nonprofit work. Teaching voice since the age of 16, Desiree has worked at Jazz House Kids, a jazz education organization run by vocalist Melissa Walker and world-renowned bassist Christian McBride. Most recently, Desiree is happily working as the After School Programs Manager at Guitars Over Guns. She hopes to further contribute to the organization’s goal of youth empowerment through the reflection and celebration of music.