Jenna Hesseln ’16, the Elmhurst College Jazz Band’s vocalist for three years, was one of five finalists in the first season of the Big Break Rosemont singing contest.
Although she did not win the $10,000 grand prize on Sept. 27, Hesseln said the competition provided invaluable benefit to her singing career by giving her opportunities to perform for and network with people in the entertainment industry.
“You never know who’s in the audience,” she said.
Although thousands of singers from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin have participated in Big Break Chicago since 2004, this was the first year for the suburban competition, at Joe’s Live Bar and Music Hall in Rosemont. It began in early August, with the live audience eliminating a contestant each week until five remained for the finale.
Hesseln works as a receptionist and has been singing at local venues and events, as well as performing weekly with a church band, since her graduation with a bachelor’s degree in music business.
Doug Beach, the College’s director of jazz studies, was at the competition's finale to cheer on his former student.
“Jenna is a wonderful singer and was an invaluable asset to our Jazz Band,” said Beach, who also is director of the Jazz Band. He agreed that the weekly competition benefited Hesseln.
“Who knows where it can lead?” he said.