Bobbi Wilsyn - Columbia College Chicago

Bobbi Wilsyn

Professor of Instruction


Bobbi Wilsyn has sung on stages from Las Vegas to Atlantic City and at local and international jazz festivals from Illinois to Italy. Under the direction of its most recent artistic directors, Jon Faddis and Dana Hall, Wilsyn was featured with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (1996-2009) and continued the relationship started by the ensemble’s late founder, William Russo.  She has often been featured with Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic specifically for the performances of "Through Ella's Eyes"(2012), and CJP's 10th Anniversary Celebration (2014) both presented at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre. She has performed with such Jazz greats as Ramsey Lewis, Corky Siegel, Joe Levano, Art Hoyle, Ari Brown and the late Jazz legends Eldee Young, Von Freeman, James Moody, Buddy DeFranco, Johnny Griffin, Billy Taylor, and Johnny Frigo, to name a few, at Symphony Center, Ravinia, The Harris Theatre, The Auditorium Theatre and Millineum Park. Wilsyn performed extensively with The Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre (1999-2010) and Symphonic Jazz International under the direction of Richard Dunscomb (2008-2010). Wilsyn has been the featured guest vocalist for The Chicago Jazz Orchestra, The Arts Center Jazz Ensemble and Ensemble STOP TIMEMs Wilsyn's international guest performances have featured her with Orchestra Jazz Siciliana "Omaggio a George Gershwin" (1998), and the Bari Big Band Jazz (2008) and she has sung for several Cabaret Conventions in New York (2003) and Chicago (2004). 

Wilsyn’s Theatre Studies at California State Los Angeles prepared her for roles in the musicals Beehive (1988), Sophisticated Ladies (1988), and It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues (2007). She has directed Columbia College Chicago’s musical productions of Duke Ellington’s, Black, Brown and Beige (2002), and The Ugly Duckling (2005) and was the Musical/Choral Director for the Columbia College Theatre department’s productions of A Bernstein Songbook (1995), Up on the Roof (1997) , Jesus Christ Superstar (1995), Ragtime (2005) and Godspell (1999). Most recently, Wilsyn was the Artistic Director and featured vocalist in I’ll Take You There: Homage to Blues and Gospel (2013) which was produced by the Music Department at Columbia.

Wilsyn founded the all-female Jazz combo, SHE (2000-Present). The group has featured some of the top women Jazz instrumentalists including pianists; Diana Wiitkowsky and Kelly Brand, bassists; Marlene Rosenberg and Katie Ernst, drummer, Sarah Allan; trombonist, Audrey Morrison; and saxophonists, Montana Roberts and Juli Wood. The group, headed by Wilsyn, were presenters of the workshop, "I'm With the Band" for the Chicago Regional Conference of the Internation Association for Jazz Education (2005) and dedicate themselves to presenting new works by composers associated with the combo. Bobbi Wilsyn performs with Chicago's Eleven Jazz Divas (2013-present). She joined jazz singer, Kurt Elling, on the romantic ballad, “Midnight in Bahia” with the Orbert Davis Quintet on the CD, Priority (2002). The CJE CD recordings, Kenton Ala Russo and The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and Thommy Gunther’s Taste of Chicago, recorded live at the Tubingen Jazz Fest in Germany, and Bobbi Wilsyn’s own CD (2001), It’s About Time, demonstrate Wilsyn’s multi-faceted song stylizations. Her CD features some of her own compositions and a few of Chicago’s own great jazz musicians, pianist Miguel de la Cerna; bassist Jim Cox; guitarists, Curtis Robinson and the late Frank Dawson; drummer Frank Parker Jr.; and saxophonist Pat Mallinger.

As an educator Bobbi Wilsyn has been on the faculty of Columbia College Chicago as an Adjunct instructor (1981-1986), Artist-in-Residence (1986-2005), Senior Lecturer (2005-Present), and the Voice and Choral Ensemble Coordinator (2004-Present).  The courses Wilsyn has taught include Music Theory, Aural Skills (1985-1990), all 3 levels of Techniques in Singing (1981-Present), Styles and Methods for the Contemporary Singer and Vocal Impovisation (2000-Present),  and Pop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and Musical Theatre Private Voice Lessons. As a masterclass facilitator, Wilsyn has presented workshops on Pop and Jazz Vocal Styles, Jazz Vocal Immprovisation and Pedagogy regionally for the Jazz Institute's Straight Ahead Jazz Camp (2009-Present), and internationally in Santa Arissi, Sardenia (2008-10), Conservatorio di Bari (2011-12) and the Conservatorio di Pescara (2013-14). Wilsyn has coached professional actors, speakers, orators, and singers for over 30 years.

Bobbi Wilsyn’s one-woman shows span the gamut from tributes to famous ladies of jazz to musical theater cabaret. Her motivational talks, Leadership Skills Seminar (Columbia College Chicago (1994), and many UNITY and Religious Science area churches, combines "music with a message" and allows Bobbi to combine her love for music and her metaphysical studies in which she was certified as a Practitioner (counselor) in 2008.For more information:

Instructional Areas

VOICE INSTRUCTION-Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Pop, Musical Theatre COACHING-Auditioning, Stylization, Stage Presence, How to sell a song and own your space.

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Vocal Pedagogy, Prosody, The Psychology of Singing. Metaphysics and Religion