Chrisisms: Vincent Chiarelli — a 22-year-old carving out his own niche

Vince Chiarelli performs. (Photo by Chris Wachowiak)

By Chris Wachowiak

A 22-year-old who is focused, driven, respectful, calculating and intelligent … five attributes I don’t often see paired together in a 22-year-old. I can say I haven’t run across another one in Rockford yet; but then again, I’m hoping to learn of more to share with our community.

The 22-year-old I’m referring to is Vincent Chiarelli, carving out his own future and path with passion and determination, while working on his master’s in accounting at Rockford College.

In a quick glimpse, while maintaining a full master’s school schedule, Vince runs Rockford College Radio (which he resurrected from 20 years of silence), and operates a record label, Vincent Records. He also works as an accountant/bookkeeper for small businesses like Kryptonite, the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and his family’s enterprises. And, last but not least, Vince fronts a working band, the Vince Chiarelli Band, just about every weekend, playing original Italian and American music all over the stateline.

Being born and raised in Rockford, Vince chooses to stay in Rockford because of a love for his family (his grandfather is “Vince the Singing Tailor”) and his connections here in town. It’s because of his love for his family that he took on his grandfather’s record label, Vincent Records, and carries it forward with past collections and growing new ones, while also trying to develop some new artists.

Vince and his band also play his grandfather’s original music, which inspires him to harness his traditions and incorporate them into his present and future.

Vince is disciplined and focused, which I find inspiring. He’s not going out to the bars to party and drink — he’s going out to the bars to work, play his music, carve out his own niche and network himself.

Vince is already engaged to a sweetheart of a woman who understands him and encourages him to follow his passion. In fact, Vince has done an impressive job surrounding himself with mentors, friends and family who challenge, comfort, love and support him.

Vince is currently mentored and partnered up with a well-seasoned musician and friend, Ron Holm. Ron and Vince work on multiple projects together, including the label and bookings for music venues, bars and listening rooms.

Vince and Ron are even hosting a series of Music Business Workshops at Rockford College March 3, March 27, April 3 and April 10. The workshops will address songwriting, publishing, the music business, marketing and recording — all the areas of what it means to be a working musician. They have experts in the industry lined up to come in and speak, and they are doing all of this for FREE, because they want to make a difference and impact in our community.

Vince is not big into your typical 22-something social media, but he is utilizing LinkedIn to further himself professionally. And Vince will soon be writing his own column in The Rock River Times titled “Vince’s Notes.” You may not read a tweet from him about where he’s having coffee, but you will gain some insights into what he’s paying attention to in his world.

Even when it comes to his music, Vince is listening to something unique like Rentao Carosone, a 1950s “Napolitano” piano player and singer. He likes to write clever songs and play off his audiences when it comes to music. He doesn’t watch much TV, nor does he read much (unless it’s about publishing music). Vince embraces a philosophy in life that he adapted from his grandfather: “Be happy for everyone, and everyone will be happy for you.”

Vince believes you should “challenge yourself and take chances now,” a philosophy he fully takes on and lives.

I’m personally glad to know Vince, and I’m looking forward to learning about more 20-somethings taking risks and challenging not only their lives, but the other lives in our community.

Next week, I’ll share with you Justin Milnes, the man behind the epic bands at The District and throughout our community. Justin is a man behind the scenes, forging his own path, following his passion, and taking risks in the process.

Chris Wachowiak is owner of Kryptonite Bar, 308 W. State St., No. 110, Rockford. Read his blog at or e-mail him at

From the Feb. 20-26, 2013, issue

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