Like most entertainers who have reached stardom, Jana Jae’s success is the result of hard work perfecting raw talent.
Musical talent runs through the family. Her parents studied at the famed Juilliard School of Music, New York City, and Jae was introduced to the classical study of the violin, on a 1/8 sized instrument, at the age of 2. Then, thanks to the direction and inspiration of her grandfather, an accomplished champion fiddler in his own right, Jae also learned to love playing by ear. She virtually grew up jamming with and learning from some of the best in the business while living in western Idaho, not far from Weiser, the site of the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest. Soon, she had honed her skill of fiddling into a fine art and won the Ladies National Championship several times.
She also continued her classical training, winning scholarships to Interlochen and the International String Congress. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in music and studied abroad at the Vienna Academy of Music.
She taught music for several years until she felt inspired to take her unique blend of music on the road. Jana and her trademark blue fiddle soon took the world of country music by storm. She got her big break at a Buck Owens concert in Redding when she was invited to take the stage and play “Orange Blossom Special.” Owens was one of the first “big names” to recognize her talents and offered her a job as the first female member of his “Buckaroos” band. She later became part of the regular team of performers on the “Hee Haw” show and has appeared with such country music greats as Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Ray Stevens, The Oakridge Boys, Mel Tillis, Ricky Skaggs and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Jae has built a solid solo career, drawing upon her diverse musical background. Her one-of-a-kind style blends country fiddling, western swing, bluegrass, pop and the classics, producing thrilling performances and critical acclaim.
But her enthusiastic following isn’t limited only to this country. She has consistently proved her ability to cross over into other genres and has earned a reputation and large international following performing at such renowned events as the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Wembley Festival in England as well as the New Orleans Jazz Festival. She has toured Japan, the Philippines, Australia, Africa, Brazil and continues to perform abroad.
Jae is a consummate performer and despite her petite size, is a powerful whirlwind on stage. Her pure, clear voice, showmanship, down-home friendly sense of humor and natural communication with any audience combine for a dynamite concert. Her special talents have enriched us all in the world of music.
Jae will be joining The Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra to perform traditional fiddle music of various genres; old time, bluegrass, gypsy, Celtic, etc. The symphony, under the direction of Dr. David Newby will be performing on Sunday, Sept. 22, at Country Oaks Baptist Church beginning at 4 p.m., with doors opening at 3:30 p.m. Country Oaks Baptist Church is located at 20915 Schout Road.
This concert is sponsored in part by a grant from the Virginia and Alfred Harrell Foundation.
Audience members may meet directors, soloist and musicians during the reception following the concert. All Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra concerts are free to the community. For more information, see tehachapiorchestra.com or call 821-7511.
Karen Budai is the director of publicity for the Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra.