Connie Kirk – Austin Jazz Singer
Born and raised in Austin, Connie Kirk is more than a jazz singer as she is able to take command of any song she sings. A civil rights activist since she was 13, Connie has been recognized for her humanitarian efforts. These efforts led the Mayor and City of Austin to proclaim February 18, 1993 as Connie Kirk Day in her honor.EducationConnie graduated from Texas Southern University in Houston in 1972, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in education, with a minor in art. After winning TSV’s “Queen of Soul” competition, Connie performed during half-time of all football games for the college in 1970, and even performed at two professional football games, including the NFL All Star Pro Game. After college, Connie returned to Austin, planning to enter the music scene, but instead, joined the Peace Corps.Teaching
While serving in the Peace Corps, Connie worked as a teacher in Swaziland, Southeast Africa. She was invited to sit with King Sobhuza and his royal family during the king’s 77th birthday celebration, an event that was attended by diplomats and ambassadors from around the world. Connie was evacuated from Southeast Africa during the Apartheid War a few months later, remaining in Liberia, Northwest Africa. When conditions due to the war deteriorated, Peace Corps volunteers were evacuated from Liberia as well and Connie returned to Austin.
Connie Kirk in the Austin Music Scene
Connie joined her first band, “Taxi,” after returning to Austin, led by Richie Harney, a jazz pianist. The band was an integrated band, and racial pressures led to the breakup of the group shortly after. Ritchie and Connie began touring as a duet after the band separated. In 1978, Connie performed with “The Angel Sucheras Quartet,” led by a salsa jazz pianist from Argentina, and occasionally played with the James Polk Quintet as well. In 1980, Connie moved to San Francisco where she performed with many jazz greats, including Benny Green, Buddy Montgomery, Bill Bell, Kermit Scott, Howard Briggs, Pete Escovedo, and many more.
Connie returned to Austin where she performs, composes and writes. Connie’s motto is “It’s never too late to fulfill your dreams” and her music shows the passion she has for life.