Fran Hartshorn’s first passion is music. She has been a vocalist since the age of 13, beginning in church in her hometown of Evansville, Indiana, where she grew up the youngest of nine children, surrounded by music and song. She has worked with various theater groups in Tucson, Arizona and New York City, and now resides in San Diego where continues to be a professional vocalist in several capacities and genres, including jazz, pop, swing, operetta.
With ten years of private vocal technique training with opera professional Dianna Ruggiero, Fran performs a wide variety of genres from classical and musical theatre to pop and jazz. She has always felt her voice best fit the jazz oeuvre, but only started to seriously pursue the genre in 2006. Her main influences are jazz divas Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, and Dianne Schuur.
Fran released her first solo jazz recording in 2007, Introducing Fran Hartshorn. The recording delights with classics from the ‘30s and ‘40s, including Cole Porter and Irving Berlin hits, with new arrangements. Sound clips from Introducing Fran Hartshorn are available at Fran’s website, www.wirediva.com or www.myspace.com/franhartshorn.
The cd reviewed well, and has received airplay on San Diego’s jazz radio station, KSDS 88.3, as well as on her hometown jazz radio station in Evansville, IN, WUEV. She has been interviewed by radio personalities and was a featured guest on Cynthia Hammond’s Local Jazz Corner on KSDS 88.3, as well as ART ROCKS RADIO, and on WUEV when she appeared at the Evansville Jazzfest in 2010.
The San Diego Troubadour review stated “Hartshorn’s voice is strong yet malleable. She effortlessly changes pitch and places herself solidly within the framework of her accompanying musicians…”
The North County Times review declared “Fran Hartshorn is a first-rate jazz singer of the old school. Her debut CD shows a vocalist of superb range, great warmth and elegant interpretative taste…local jazzheads are going to be wondering when her next disc will come out.”
Prior to completing her debut CD, Fran performed regularly at Hawthorn’s, a high-end restaurant and lounge which had been featured on the cover of San Diego Magazine. Since then she has performed at various local venues such as Bondi, Circle of 5ths, Buongiorno, Villa Capri, and the Caliph. Fran was also a member of the retro-Vegas-lounge act Blue Velvet, known for unique arrangements of great songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s by Burt Bacharach, the Carpenters, Abba and the 5th Dimension. Blue Velvet was at one time a staple of San Diego venues and in Los Angeles where they made their television debut on the popular tv show, “America’s Got Talent”, in 2007.
Fran has been a steady lead female vocalist for ten years with the Moonlight Serenade Orchestra, a seventeen-piece big band that plays the great music of the big band era including Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, and Stan Kenton, among others. She continues to perform with the Moonlight Serenade Orchestra on a regular basis at the Lucky Star Restaurant and will be performing with them for the 5th straight year at Balboa Park’s Twilight Concert in the Park series at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in August.
Fran has been on the Lyric Opera San Diego stage in productions and was seen as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, Mrs. Bedwin in Oliver!, Cousin Hebe in HMS Pinafore, and productions such as The Gondoliers, and Candide, and the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha. Fran has also been a vocalist with Opus Melodious, a quartet that performs the music of Mozart, Gershwin, and Broadway as well as having performed in a concert of 20th century Russian composers (all in the Russian language) with the vocal ensemble, Musica Vitale. Fran is also a professional Christmas caroler and has worked with Janet Hammer’s Full Measure Carolers since the year 2000.
Fran has attended the Centrum Jazz Workshop in Port Townsend, WA, and took part in the jazz festival held each year there. This program is headed by John Clayton, a current leader in today’s jazz music and a founding member of the Los Angeles based Clayton Hamilton Orchestra.
Fran has performed steadily with a jazz combo, performing Latin and straight-ahead standards. She also holds 2 church soloist positions at Park Hill United Methodist Church and Seventh Church of Christ Science in Pacific Beach.