February 28, 2008


Tyrsa Pratcher

Tyrsa Fawn Pratcher, a true Stamford native, was born in the Stamford hospital in 1965, and received her education throughout the Stamford public school system. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Connecticut, where she received the “Stamford Campus Scholar in English,” and the “Award for Excellence” in English. She has served her country through an enlistment in the United States Marine Corps, where she received the Navy Achievement medal, and an honorable discharge. During “Operation Desert Storm” in 1991, she was recalled to active duty and later discharged at the rank of Sergeant.

Tyrsa is the author of “Keeping the Store,” an increasingly popular book of poetry, that is inspiring, truthful, funny, and real. As one reader put it, “it has teeth!” She published this first book through her own company Fawn Publishing. Tyrsa expects to release her much anticipated, second book of poetry, entitled “Broken in Pieces” in 2007, and is at work on her third book. Another one of her goals is to help other aspiring authors pursue their dream of publishing. Her book is available through BORDERS bookstores, UCONN Co-op downtown Stamford, and on her website www.fawnpublishing.com.

When I asked Tyrsa to name her favorite jazz musician she said, "Kersten Stevens God-given gift as a violinist serves as an awesome inspiration to me as a poet. This is a divine connection, which I am delighted to be paired with. When she plays, my poetry is taken to new levels. To put it poetically: the poetry is given wings of an eagle – which allows it to soar into the heart of the listener."

What is the relationship between jazz and poetry, and what is the importance of each to our culture? I asked.

"Jazz and poetry are related in the sense that they are very deep expressions of the heart, birth out of the pain and joys of the human experience. Jazz reaches the soul of man through the ear, while poetry is absorbed through the eye as well as the ear. Both jazz and poetry cause us to look beyond the surface,
which is essential in raising societal awareness in our culture."

Kersten Stevens

Kersten Stevens, the musically gifted, beautiful, virtuosic & poised professional violinist, is truly a gift. Being blessed with a talent for jazz, gospel and classical performance, she has excelled from a local star hailing from Stratford, Connecticut to a national buzzworthy artist! A recent graduate of the Yale University Class of 2006 with a B.A. in Music and African American Studies, KERSTEN’s musical journey began with classical violin instruction at the age of three. She began studying and performing jazz, gospel and contemporary styles at age fourteen! Kersten has since been the opening act for the late Ray Charles, made a 2004 appearance for the National Boys and Girls Clubs at the request by Denzel Washington, appeared in 2005 as a featured soloist with Dionne Warwick and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, performed with world-renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter, has studied with violinist John Blake, Jr., and has twice taken Showtime at the Apollo by storm, winning competitions in 2003 and 1999!

KERSTEN’s stirring violin improvisational skills have received a number of awards and recognitions. In 2007 she was awared Gospel Instrumentalist of the Year by Connecticut's Holla Back Video Awards. She was crowned the Hal Jackson's Talented Teen Miss Connecticut 2000 and International 1st runner up and in 2002 was the Gold Medal winner of the NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics in the Music/Instrumental Contemporary category. Also in 2002, she received awards from the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Youth Orchestra for musical excellence and from Vivian Ayers-Allen and Phylicia Ayers-Allen Rischad for her musical accomplishments. Recently, she was awarded for artistic excellence by the Afro- American Cultural Center at Yale University.

Kersten has completed two solo projects. The Beginning, released in 2002, features jazz classics like Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood” and funk charts like Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster.” September 2005 celebrated the release of Kersten’s highly anticipated sophomore gospel album entitled Walks of Faith. A fusion of contemporary jazz and gospel, the project features such legendary musicians such as bassist Lonnie Plaxico and is complete with gospel standards “The Lord’s Prayer,” contemporaries like “Shabach” and spirituals like “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.” The album is truly an electrifying musical and spiritual experience!

The dynamic virtuosity of Violinist Kersten Stevens distinguishes her as one of the most uniquely gifted artists to hit the scene today! She continues to perform across the country and looks forward to sharing her music across the world.

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