Pitch Perfect Jess
Jessica Del Borrello is a little pocket rocket. When people mention someone walking into a room and lighting it up, that’s Jess. The girls she teaches in Music each day absolutely love her. She’s enthusiastic and greets everyone with a big smile. She describes herself as having a big laugh and a short height. She’s certainly not short on personality!
Her passion is singing, in particular, acapella. We thought we’d shine the staff spotlight on Jess and get to know her better.
We asked Jess how she got into singing. “As a teenager, I enjoyed using my ear to find chords and melodies on the piano of my favourite tunes on the radio”, she said. “I would play and sing, and just get lost in the sound and emotion the song lyrics portrayed”.
Jess sang in her high school choir in Year 12 and then studied Music at WAAPA. Where, she said, “singing was part of becoming a better musician.”
“In my first few years of teaching, I discovered how much I enjoyed conducting a choir and wanted to improve my vocal skills, to be able to teach better.”
In 2017, Jess successfully auditioned for The Baden Street Singers, a Perth-based acapella group of young adults who perform and compete nationally. “I loved the Pitch Perfect movies, so I pretty much got to become a real-life Bardon Bella”, she told us with a laugh.
Jess enjoyed the three-hour rehearsals every Wednesday night at UWA and would get a thrill from performing in their Perth concerts. “We flew to Sydney in 2017 for the National Barbershop Harmony competition and took first place in our category! In 2018 we even performed in our own show called ‘Acapocalypse’ at the Perth Fringe Festival!”. The group also performed at the Denmark Festival of Voice and ran workshops for high school choir students.
Jess explains her love for acapella, “It stems from the incredible feeling you get when you create vocal harmony with someone else. When you’re experiencing that sound, sharing it with another, it’s euphoric! Your voice and their voice create the exact intonation that brings emotions to life! I enjoy teaching this to my choir students, especially the AcaMarias at Santa Maria!”
When asked which bands or performers she listened to as a teenager, Jess said, “Anything that was on the radio. I used to keep a notebook, write down the order of songs in the Top 40 countdown, and compare them each night! I bought lots of ‘So Fresh’ CDs! Having much older brothers, there was lots of dance music playing – Wild CDs and Ministry of Sound compilations.”
Avril Lavigne’s poster was on the wall of her bedroom. “I wasn’t a tomboy at all, but I liked that she was unique and didn’t mind what others thought about her, and at that age, I connected with her song lyrics.”
She’d love to meet Ryan Tedder from One Republic, “He is a prolific pop songwriter! He has written pop songs for Beyonce, Rhianna, and Ed Sheeran.” Her go-to concert, if she could see anyone, would be Sia. “I would love to hear her incredible vocal cords live! Even if I can’t see her face on stage! She is a super musician!”
Did her Italian heritage influence her and her love of music? “Definitely, Italians are known for being expressive, and music has always been a channel for my expression, and I love eating food!” she added.
Jess loves cooking. She told us that her favourite cuisine is seafood, especially in pasta dishes. She shared her favourite recipe to whip with us; pumpkin ravioli with a green sauce: grated zucchini, chopped broccolini, spring onions, pine nuts & olive oil. And some fresh cooked salmon on the side! Sounds very yummy!
Her mum taught her how to cook. “She taught me how to make chicken & veal cotoletta and fried melanzane, and her mum taught her! My Nonna is 97 and still remembers how to make pasta with hand measurements!”
As the youngest and the only girl in an Italian family, Jess grew up with lots of love. “I have two older brothers who are 12 and 14 years older than me. The age gap was quite unique. I was in primary school when my brothers were at uni. I was in high school when my brothers got married and had kids. I love being an aunt to my nieces and nephew! I’m very close with my family.”
We asked Jess about her proudest accomplishments or moments so far. “Travelling solo to Italy when I was 24 to understand my heritage and meet the extended family was a big one! Also, owning my own house was a goal I’ve always been saving for and now proudly accomplished. I also feel accomplished and grateful every day to be employed at Santa Maria!”
And what does the future hold for Jess? “In five years, I hope to be a better musician, a better educator, and a better leader to inspire my students in the arts subjects.”
Thank you for chatting with us, Jess!