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Di Gennaro

Opera student's music video wins him free flights on Southwest Airlines

Posted: 09/14/2012
Chicago College of Performing Arts graduate voice performance student Gabriel Di Gennaro will be able to fly home to New Jersey for free at Thanksgiving and Christmas thanks to a winning music video that he recently produced in part at Roosevelt University for a contest advertising Southwest Airlines.

Di Gennaro, who wants to be an international opera singer and studies with Music Conservatory faculty member  Richard Stilwell, recently won six free flights from Southwest after his two-minute video featuring a cappella music he composed was selected as a winner from about 200 entries.

“I normally sing opera, but this project was just for fun,” said Di Gennaro, who made the video using Garage Band software, his MacBook Pro, an external microphone and a Flip Cam.  It features a number of Roosevelt University acting voice students and is shot in Di Gennaro’s apartment as well as a Roosevelt classroom.
DiGennaro, who was part of an a cappella group and who worked on a variety of video projects while in high school in New Jersey, will graduate from Roosevelt next spring. His winning entry entitles him to 50,000 free miles on Southwest.

“Winning this contest will help me make ends meet this semester,” said Di Gennaro, who won’t have to pay out of pocket to attend his sister’s fall wedding and to visit with family and friends.
This semester, Di Gennaro is appearing in Giacomo Puccini’s The Cloak, Darius Milhaud’s Three Minute Operas and a scene from Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff during the Nov. 3 and 4 Opera Fest at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Campus.
Before presenting his graduate recital next semester, Di Gennaro also will be performing the roles of Daedalus/Father in Roosevelt University’s Chicago premiere production of Daron Hagen’s Amelia on March 1 and 2, 2013, at Benito Juarez Community Academy, 1450 W. Cermak Road, Chicago, and Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi on April 26, 2013, at the University’s seventh-floor Ganz Hall, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
“Hopefully, I will be able to use at least one of my free flights in my pursuit of a career as an opera singer,” he said.
For more information on Roosevelt’s OperaFest and other performances, visit or contact CCPA’s Performance Activities Office at 312-341-2352.