Bessie, Billie, Nina:
Pioneering Women in Jazz

Featuring three dynamic vocalists backed by an all-female band

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Staplin Performing Arts Center

Des Moines, Iowa

Fri, March 4, 2022

7:30 PM

Regular Tickets

Prices $40 – $75, students save 40%

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Billie, Bessie, Nina

Group offers

Save 30% on tickets for groups of 10 or more. Call the CMA office to book directly.


Featuring three dynamic vocalists

Charenée Wade

Jazz at Lincoln Center

Vanisha Gould

Jazz at Lincoln Center

Tahira Clayton

Women in Jazz Organization

About the show

From the Jim Crow era-South through the turbulent 1960s, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone wielded their exceptional talents to combat racial prejudice, sexism, and poverty. This concert celebrates the enduring legacies of these iconic women and artists with performances of their classic songs, including Downhearted Blues, Strange Fruit, and Mississippi Goddam. Produced by Grammy Award-winner Eli Wolf, with arrangements by Carmen Staff, pianist and Musical Director for NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Practical information

Where is the concert happening?

The concert will happen at Staplin Performing Arts Center. Located at Valley High School, this beautiful 1,136 seat facility was designed and built with audiences in mind, using state-of-the art equipment and acoustics to keep audiences comfortable and draw them into performances.

What health measures will be in place?

The health and safety of our patrons and artists remains our top priority.

In compliance with the requirements of our venues, masks are currently required at CMA events.

We also offer an open seating section for those that wish to socially distance.

CMA is closely monitoring guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as state and local health organizations. We will continue to update our health measures as the situation evolves. Final requirements will be communicated to patrons prior to each event.

Learn more about our health measures here.

Where should I park?

Free parking is available in parking lots east and north of the venue, accessible from Woodland Avenue.

Valet parking will be available for $12.

Are student tickets available?

Yes! We offer a 40% discount on tickets for students. Call 515.280.4020 to book.

Sponsored by:

Charlotte & Fred Hubbell, Pam & Harry Bookey, and Susan & Carl Voss.

Additional support comes from the Presenter Consortium for Jazz, a program of Chamber Music America funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.