Rose Colella, BM '02
Rose Colella
"Studying jazz at Roosevelt prepared me exceptionally well for a career as a jazz singer and educator, particularly working with professors Jennifer Barnes and Scott Mason." Rose Colella (BM '02)

Critically acclaimed jazz vocalist Rose Colella drives audiences and critics alike simply wild with her performances, with an “elegantly tipsy” voice that frequently headlines top jazz clubs around Chicago. She, however, also travels to myriad top clubs and venues around the country: here she is masterfully singing “You Made Me Love You” at the Metropolitan Room in New York City. She’ll be returning to The Big Apple on July 26, 2018 at 7 p.m. to perform at the Triad Theatre.

The legendary Triad Theatre carries with it a long history of star-studded performances and off-Broadway cult hits. It’s responsible for the origination of productions like Forbidden Broadway and Spamilton, and cult favorite Forever Plaid. It has also hosted a multitude of movie stars and theatre veterans on its stage. Colella’s decadent voice is a sensible choice to grace this historical stage.

Colella’s adventure didn’t start on the East Coast—it started right here in Chicago, with her earning her BM in Jazz Studies from Roosevelt's Chicago College of Performing Arts in 2002. “Working in Chicago is how I got my start, and I began singing here professionally in college when I was about 20 years old.  Chicago is an extremely wonderful city for a jazz singer - there are many historic and beautiful jazz clubs here,” Colella said, adding that she has had no shortage of opportunities and events at which to perform.

The beauty of Chicago, however, doesn’t just derive from historical places; it’s also inherent in the people with whom Colella works. “I couldn't ask for a more positive social environment in which to work.  I also happen to think that some of the musicians I play with in Chicago are some of the finest in the world.  The experiences I've gained by singing in Chicago, with such fantastic colleagues, for such incredible audiences, in some of the country's most famous jazz clubs, are what have shaped me as a vocalist and a person.”

Part of Colella’s experience in Chicago, of course, was deeply rooted in studying jazz at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. “Studying jazz at Roosevelt prepared me exceptionally well for a career as a jazz singer and educator, particularly working with professors Jennifer Barnes and Scott Mason.” Colella’s wide and varied coursework at Roosevelt directly influenced how she both performs and teaches; she is currently the chair of the Music Department at The Chicago Academy for the Arts.

Colella’s training, acumen and artistic support system vaulted her to this level, so the question remains: how does one prepare for a performance this prestigious, well-attended, and glamorous? Colella acknowledges there is a lot of challenging—but fun—work that goes into the planning stages. “The preparation for a gig like the one I'm about to do in NYC takes weeks and weeks, and most people aren't aware of what goes into it.  The fun part is choosing and arranging the repertoire, practicing, booking the plane ticket, booking the musicians, and the anticipation of singing in a nightclub in Manhattan - it's a dream come true! However, there is a huge list of to-do's in order to have a successful event, including press releases, graphic design, social media, eblasts, personal invitations and messages, and other advertising.  I am my own agent, PR person, and manager all rolled into one, so it's a full-time job.”

It’s clear that Colella is at once a gifted vocalist and a shrewd businesswoman. Her beginnings, learning and performing in Chicago have no doubly heavily influenced her career and teaching.

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