The Torchlighter

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Our City, Our Story

E01: The Torchlighter

1955. Vincent Chiarelli of Sicily arrived to Rockford, IL with a song in his heart and a needle in his pocket. He opened a small tailor shop and spun out a music publishing company with his own record label from its success. His shop was located at the head of Broadway Street coming downtown, and those who came to see Vince thought he owned the town.

Passion for music is the lifeblood of the Chiarelli family, and most of this information was passed along not by the sons of Vince the Tailor, but by his grandson of the same name, Little Vincent Chiarelli. Vince the Singer started up Rockford College Radio, which laid dormant for 20 years. He has taken the torch of passion for music and has helped others get their voices heard.

By standards of the music industry, Vince Chiarelli never achieved the “success” of worldwide fame or became a household name like many dream of. What he has accomplished is something that the vast majority of them didn’t. While most of these celebrities’ flame goes out, Vince the Singing Tailor lit many torches.

When the last interview question, “Is there anything else you want to say?”, arose...Vince, now over 80 years of age, said - “I’m thankful for you doing this...I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be here.” To our eyes, he is an important figure in Rockford history and we are grateful to have come upon this first flicker of light that has illuminated the way of Our City, Our Story.
 


  
In memory of Vince Chiarelli.

  • Directed & Produced By
    Pablo Korona
  • Music
    Daniel James McMahon
  • Audio
    Zach Staas
  • Special Thanks
    Rockford College
  •  
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These stories are a response to the national attention Rockford, Illinois received in 2011: from Forbes, #9 Most Dangerous in US; from the Wall Street Journal, #10th Most Dangerous in US; New York Times, Portraits From a Job-Starved City; and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show portrayed Rockford as a wasteland littered with chain fast food restaurants.

Our City, Our Story

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