Student Spotlight: Ronda de Paola

Ronda de Paola

Ronda de Paola
Major: Music
Hometown: Western Springs

Ronda de Paola has an ear for music and also heard that College of DuPage had an exceptional music department.

"I already knew what my major would be," she said. "Convenience, location and excellence helped me decide on College of DuPage."

It helped that de Paola received several scholarships during her time at COD: the Tandaric Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship, the COD Returning Adult Scholarship and the Naperville Rotary Scholarship. After earning her Associate in Fine Arts degree in Music, de Paola transferred to Columbia College in Chicago to study film and music.

"I want to write and direct films that are driven by classical music, such as fiction and documentary films concerning composers such as Liszt and Clara Schumann," she said.

Since graduating from Columbia College, de Paola has been keeping busy. She's a graduate student with the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She's working on several feature scripts, including "Liszt," a bio-pic of composer Franz Liszt, highlighting his time spent as a "rock star"; "A Whisper in the Night," a Civil War tale involving a southern belle who falls in love with a slave; "The Soul Project," a futuristic tale of a young widow who wants to bring her husband back from the dead; "Shadows in the Moonlight," an homage to the original "Dark Shadows" soap opera complete with gothic horror elements and vampires; and "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas," a dark drama about alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

"I also intend on composing the score for these films, using many experimental music techniques which I learned from the great Ken Paoli at COD," she said.

She's also readying several short films for production, while her documentary "Love the Second Time Around," about senior citizens finding love again, is almost complete and ready to hit the film festivals. Also, her short film "Cut Time" premiered at the Naperville Independent Film Festival in 2012. It's a film she wrote, directed and starred in. Her goal is to relocate to the Los Angeles area.

"It's important to note that I think very highly of the piano staff at College of DuPage. I still keep in contact with many of the professors there and continue to study with Svetlana Popova (whom I adore) to this day," she said. "All of the music staff and faculty have been especially helpful and supportive in every area. Special thanks go to Steven Havens, Lee Kesselman and Ken Paoli."

More about the Music program