Help raise £15k for Roella's last year @ Berklee
Message from Roella Oloro:
"Firstly, I want to say a huge thankyou and God bless you to everyone who has supported my Berklee journey thus far! If it wasn’t for the grace of God and the love, belief and encouragement that every donar, friend and family member has poured into me, my Berklee dream would have never become a reality. Even though the pandemic greatly threatened the completion of my Berklee degree, I held on with all my might; working harder than I’ve ever worked before both in person and online. The backing of my community served as the greatest motivation for me, even in my lowest moments. Seeing people miraculously band together to help me raise the living cost funds needed each year over my first 3 years at Berklee College of Music, made me want to keep pushing to make the most of every second that I’ve been out in the States. Through this journey, I can really say that I am a product of the popular saying,” It takes a village!”
Now I call on that village one more time. In order to pay for living costs in Boston, I really need your help. We’re so close to the finish line! I know it’s possible to reach my graduation day against all the crazy odds that have been thrown at myself and my family. Every little bit that you can give counts and goes such a long way!
For those who are new to my story:
I’m a British-born composer and multi-instrumentalist of Nigerian and Jamaican descent. I grew up playing gospel music in the Pentecostal Church in south west England. This taught me to play by ear alongside formal training in classical piano, jazz clarinet and alto saxophone. I became inspired by jazz in my early teens after hearing the virtuosic brilliance of Oscar Peterson. I first moved to London in 2017 to study at Trinity Laban and quickly got involved with London's vibrant scene, performing at venues such as Ronnie’s Scott’s and Pizza Express. As a composer I have written for a variety of different ensembles, one of my first pieces for big band ,"Cruisin'" was played at the Royal Albert Hall. In Summer 2018, I was offered a full scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music after attending the school’s 5- Week Performance Programme.
After a rigorous fundraising campaign that raised £23,000 in 4 months-which was made possible with the help of the music education network, Tomorrow's Warriors-, I was able to start studying at Berklee in September 2019. Whilst at Berklee, I have received tutelage from exceptional professors such as NEA Jazz Master Terri Lyne-Carrington, Joanne Brackeen and Grammy nominated saxophonist Tia Fuller. I have received one to one lessons with, Melissa Aldana, Helen Sung, Camille Thurman, Rafael Zaldivar and many others. One of my most notable Berklee opportunities was performing with the Jazz and Gender Justice Institute on WGBH’s “Basic Black in Fall 2019.” Over the course of the pandemic, I was a BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 Semi-finalist, a Jazz South UK grant recipient, appeared on Decca Records’, “Alone Together” Jazz piano album, on British TV as part of “Jazz 625, the British Jazz Explosion” and released her first single entitled “Sacrificial Lamb.”
Over this past academic school year, I was chosen to take a class at Harvard University led by none other than my idol Esperanza Spalding. My arrangement of Patrice Rushen’s L’esprit de Joie won this year’s International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) award for Emerging Black Composers. In May 2022 I flew out to Austin, Texas to receive my award at the ISJAC symposium. There I performed my arrangement with members of the 17-piece orchestra provided. The same arrangement performed by an all black female collective of instrumentalists that I put together over the pandemic, has made it to the semi-finals of the international 7 Virtual Jazz Competition! If we make it to the finals, we could get to perform and record in Italy!!
Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate every ounce of support given. It won’t take much to bring it this degree all the way home! Please give what you can!"
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Organizer and beneficiary
Curlew Road, Abbeydale, Gloucester
Roella Jazzisrealmusic Oloro