For the Love of Jazz
Jazz vocalist Hannah Bretz comes by her talent naturally. The granddaughter of a classical organist and singer, Hannah Bretz says that music is a language she learned to speak at an early age. Hannah took that early appreciation of music and ran with it.
From dancing to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' at age two, to wearing out multiple Ella Fitzgerald CDs as a teenager, Hannah Bretz's musical background is as varied as it is eclectic.
Bretz feels that her teachers at the Chicago College of Performing Arts also opened doors for her musically. "The incredible musicians at CCPA taught me to fall in love with Latin Jazz and the Portuguese language. Now, I frequently include multiple languages in my performances." I feel that the wonderful and exotic experiences I've gained traveling the world have translated into a more diverse musical repertoire.
Hannah Bretz earned a BA in Jazz Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She studied with Patricia Barber (voice), Mike Molloy (voice), Andrew Distel (voice), Rob Parton (trumpet, music business), Tito Carillo (trumpet), John McLean (guitar), Tom Garling (trombone, composition), and Scott Mason (bass, piano). She had the opportunity to complete a master class with Kurt Elling, and has shared the stage with Darmon Meader of the New York Voices.
While in Chicago, Bretz was a member of Downbeat Magazine award-winning vocal ensemble, The New Deal. She regularly performed onstage at legendary jazz venues the Jazz Showcase and Fitzgerald's, and was a guest vocalist with Rob Parton's JAZZTECH Big Band.
Bretz was an instructor of classical voice in the Drake University Community School of Music (DUCSOM) in Des Moines, Iowa. During this time she was a regular vocalist with the Steve Charlson Trio at Chuck's Italian Restaurant, and she was the lead vocalist in Des Moines' own infamous cover band, One Nite Stand.
Bretz grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa and first fell in love with jazz music while singing in the vocal music department at Valley High School, which earned the first ever GRAMMY® Signature School award in 1999. She was a member of the premier vocal jazz ensemble, Vocalese, Valley Singers, and A Capella Choir. Bretz is an alumni of the Iowa All-State Jazz Choir (2001), Iowa Ambassadors of Music European Tour (2000), Iowa All-State Music Festival (Chorus, multiple years), and a competing vocalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). She studied classical voice under Leanne Freeman-Miller at Drake University. Bretz is honored to have been a student of Jim Cacciatore, who inspired her to pursue music as a profession.