Born on Christmas Day, Marti Mendenhall's earliest childhood memory is her mother singing to her before going to sleep. A music teacher and professional folk singer, her mother taught Marti the words to many Child Ballads while practicing on her autoharp. Music talents ran in the rest of the clan as well, so during family reunions at campsites across Oregon, aunts, uncles and distant cousins would pull out instruments and sing jazz standards often entertaining the entire campground by firelight.
After high school, Marti gained invaluable experience touring with Soundsation, opening for groups like the Ritz and the Four Freshman. While studying with Thomas Poole and earning a BA in Voice Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Marti formed a four-voice women's ensemble, Sus-4 which toured across the US with the highlight opening for NY Voices. Though it has gone through many iterations, Sus-4 is still in existence today. During her studies at UNC, she met Joey Herbert, with whom she co-wrote her first arrangement, "Brasilia" (ASCAP) which was subsequently published through UNC Jazz Press and purchased for performance by many universities and at Jazz festivals across the US.
After graduating with a degree in Voice Performance, Marti returned to Oregon and found opportunities to solo with the Seattle Jazz Repertory Orchestra, Oregon Repertory Singers, Belle Voci Women's Ensemble, Naomi LaViolette, and the jazz quintet, After Hours as well as singing/voice over work for commercials. Marti has also taught Vocal Jazz for five years to students at Oregon Episcopal School and for one year, acted as the Interim Director of Vocal Jazz at Clackamas Community College.
Marti accepted an invitation to present her Vocal Jazz Improvisation Workshop at the Unitarian Universalist Musician Conference in 2009 and to Humbolt State University in 2011, which she followed with a popular concert performance.
For sixteen seasons, Marti actively participated in the success and growth of the world-renowned Oregon Repertory Singers. Though most of her contribution is as a soloist soprano, Marti has also sat on the Board of Directors, created fund raisers, mentored workshops, acted as section leader as well as guest conducting. Her most recent solo performance with Oregon Repertory Singers and conductor, Ethan Sperry, was the 2012 performance of Carmina Burana, where Marti wowed audiences with stellar high-notes in Dulcisime.
Marti's debut solo album titled, "An Evening of Live Jazz!" was recorded live during a benefit concert for Friends of the Children, a Portland nonprofit benefiting at risk youth through an extended mentoring program. With outstanding musicians to support her, the captivated audience delighted in Marti's vocal improvisations and dynamic soprano vocals, ending the performance with a standing ovation. The album features classic Jazz standards such as “Destination Moon”, a unique up-beat rendition of “Angel Eyes”, and original works such as “Believe”, a love ballad which Marti has been invited to sing live at the 2013 Portland Bridal Show on January 12, 2013. You can read more about the album, "An Evening of Live Jazz," on the Reviews tab above.
Marti’s most recent concert performance was in July, where she headlined the Portland Center for the Performing Arts Noontime Showcase. She has been told that the 200+ audience members broke the
record for the largest group in attendance. Marti continues to write original music, present workshops, coach student and consult teachers, and is working toward her next CD. When she isn't working, Marti enjoys hiking, travel, Oregon beaches and spending time with her dog, Tesla.