She is active as a program and music coordinator for fundraising concerts to benefit lives affected by AIDS / HIV - her self-conceived annual Comfort & Joy Holiday Jazz Concert each December, and A Tribute to Billie Holiday Concert benefiting Mercy Hospice and the Church of St. Luke & The Epiphany in Philadelphia.
"First rate jazz balladry." CADENCE Magazine
The Great American Songbook, and beyond, featuring composers and lyricists from Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, George & Ira Gershwin, and Duke Ellington to Thelonious Monk, Abbey Lincoln and Tadd Dameron. Mary Ellen also possesses a classical repertoire including operatic arias, art songs, and sacred music.
"A consummate musician with a superb voice." allaboutjazz.com
Currently teaching at Philadelphia's University of the Arts as a voice teacher on the School of Music's faculty since 2007. Also teaching voice at Community College of Philadelphia since 2010.An alumna, herself, of UArts (formerly Philadelphia College of Performing Arts) she earned an Associates Degree in Vocal Performance with Highest Honors from Community College of Philadelphia and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey.
"Jazz at St. Luke's - a perfect match of music & place."
Vic Schermer allaboutjazz.com
"She's a first class singer you really must hear."
"Singer Mary Ellen Desmond:
the most refreshing sound in jazz." Jazztimes
Tavern On The Green NYC
Paris Wine Bar
Chris' Jazz Cafe Restaurant L2
Swann Lounge @ The Four Seasons Hotel Paradiso
Showboat Casino Omni Hotel
William Douglas Steakhouse Kunkel's Steakhouse
Tavern 17 @ The Warwick Hotel Bistro St. Tropez
Varalli Restaurant Ortlieb's Jazz Haus
Capital Grille Cutillo's...
She can be heard singing at area clubs, concerts, churches, and for private functions with accompanists ranging from pianists Tom Lawton, Lucas Brown, Bill Schilling, and Patrick Fink to guitarists Mike Kennedy and Kevin Hanson, bassist Lee Smith, and tenor sax great Larry McKenna.
Mary Ellen Desmond has been performing professionally in the Philadelphia / New Jersey area for the past 20 plus years. She has also performed engagements in Japan. Classically trained she is recognized as a crossover artist covering a variety of styles and repertoires with a primary focus on jazz standards and the American Songbook.
"Desmond has worked all over town. Her vocal renditions are captivating and remind one that 'it is the singer, not the song'."