The Holli Ross Fund for Jazz Studies has been established to promote professionalism in jazz studies and is inspired by Holli Ross’ unwavering dedication to the next generation of jazz artists. Holli Ross was the consummate student with a vision and found ways to learn what was required to bring that vision to fruition - even if in nontraditional ways.
When Holli was earning her Bachelor’s degree in bassoon performance from The Mannes College of Music, the field of jazz vocal studies did not formally exist. Following her interests, she asked if she could join an instrumental jazz class run by pianist Jack Reilly. He agreed and warned her that he’d treat her like any other instrumentalist. Later, she was tutored by saxophonist Warne Marsh, who also pushed her beyond the usual vocal requirements.
For thirteen years, Holli brought that same rigor and heart to her work as a faculty member of Montclair State University's John J. Cali School of Music, and it is a befitting channel through which her legacy will inspire the making of jazz by generations to come. Holli taught applied jazz voice and directed the jazz vocal ensemble, Vocamotion.
Words from the late Holli Ross:
“To be a singer is a special gift, because the voice reaches out to the most primal musical instincts in people. I don’t just get to sing the beautiful melody, I get to tell the beautiful story…or sometimes, a story that ain’t so pretty. My reward will always be the coming together of musical minds on the bandstand and the feeling that I am touching the heart of a listener.”
To read more about Holli, visit http://holliross.com/bio.htm