Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) will mark 150 years of its music conservatory and the 20th anniversary of its theatre conservatory on March 14 at the University’s Auditorium Theatre.
Featuring CCPA faculty, students and alumni, VIVID 2018 will kick off with a gala fundraiser where alumni and friends of the University’s music and theatre conservatories will have an opportunity to meet TV, film and Broadway star Merle Dandridge, one of Roosevelt’s first theatre graduates who will receive CCPA’s inaugural Distinguished Artist Award.
The fundraiser for the benefit of CCPA student scholarships will begin at 5:30 p.m. The VIVID concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with the CCPA Chamber Orchestra and soloist CCPA faculty member Winston Choi, internationally acclaimed concert pianist, led by guest conductor Andrew Grams, music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. The show’s second half will feature Roosevelt theatre students offering a retrospective medley of songs, dance and spoken word presented over the last 20 years by the theatre conservatory, accompanied by a CCPA jazz combo under the direction of faculty member Scott Mason, head of jazz. Theatre faculty member Jane Lanier, a Tony and Drama Desk-nominated Broadway actor and choreographer, will direct the retrospective, with music direction by guest artist Ryan Brewster. The performance also will feature a world premiere by award-winning CCPA graduate music composition student Mitch Weakley.
VIVID 2018 performances are free, but tickets are required and donations made for CCPA scholarships are encouraged. More information about the show as well as tickets for the pre-show reception with Dandridge are available at: www.roosevelt.edu/vivid
“This will be a special occasion for Roosevelt University and its music and theatre conservatories,” said Henry Fogel, dean of CCPA since 2009 and the former president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the League of American Orchestras. “We will be celebrating several significant milestones during this historic evening, which will pay tribute to the importance and vitality of performing arts to Chicago’s past, present and future.”
Roosevelt’s music conservatory traces its beginning to 1867 when Florenz Ziegfeld, Sr., father of the famous Broadway impresario, founded the Chicago Academy of Music. Destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the popular music conservatory reopened soon after in a new South Loop location as Chicago Musical College (CMC), which continues in operation today as CCPA.
Merged with Roosevelt University’s School of Music in 1954, the CMC flourished under the leadership of Swiss pianist and composer Rudolph Ganz, whose 70 years at the music school, including 36 years as president, live on in Roosevelt’s historic Auditorium Building spaces, including the seventh-floor Ganz Hall and ninth-floor Ganz Studio.
In 1997, Roosevelt created a College of Performing Arts, folding CMC into its music conservatory and establishing a theatre conservatory. Roosevelt named the new college Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) in 2000.
There are more than 250 students from over 20 countries in CCPA’s music conservatory, and 107 faculty and artist faculty members, of which more than 30 are members of professional orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. The theatre conservatory has more than 225 students from 33 states and five countries, and a 12-member faculty whose experience extends to on and off Broadway, TV, movies and the vibrant Chicago theatre circuit, including the Goodman, Steppenwolf and Chicago Shakespeare theatres.
CCPA has more than 5,000 graduates, many who have gone on to careers in music, theatre and arts management. Notable alumni include: guitarist Mike Bloomfield,jazz instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, TV actor Parvesh Cheena, 2017 BBC Singer of the World finalist John Chest, Broadway and Oprah Network Greenleaf star Merle Dandridge, former Prince drummer Hannah Ford, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Trombonist Jay Friedman, NBC-TV Rise star Damon Gillespie, Metropolitan Opera baritone Donald Gramm, composer Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Eddie Harris, Chicago co-founder Robert Lamm, composer and pianist Ramsey Lewis, oboist Humbert Lucarelli, actress Amy Newbold, star of Broadway’s Aladdin Courtney Reed, actor James Romney, CSO pianist Mary Sauer, guitarist Jim Schwall, actress Mia Serafino, pianist Corky Siegel, concert pianist Jeffrey Siegel, London Philharmonia Principal Violist Yukiko Ogura, Broadway actor Scott Stangland, soprano Marcy Stonikas, CSO cellist Gary Stucka, actress Danitra Vance, CSO violist Weijing Wang and Earth Wind and Fire co-founder Maurice White.