top of page

Annual Jazz Brunch & Scholarship Awards Event

The Board of Directors of the then known Aurora Area African American Chamber of Commerce wanted to create an event that would serve businessmen and women and the African American community. “We wanted an event that would celebrate Black History Month and allow business people to network,” said Al Olieh who served on the board at that time.

Thus, the “Heritage Ball” came into existence. From February 11, 1995 to 2008, the Heritage Ball allowed the Chamber to recognize business excellence and reward African American students’ educational achievements. After the 2008 event, then Board Chairman Roscoe Green, who served as Vice President of the Hollywood Casino-Aurora, introduced an idea to provide a new way to honor African American business and community.

So, in 2009, the Chamber changed the format and introduced the “Jazz Brunch” that is held at the Hotel Arista in Naperville, IL. The first Jazz Brunch was held January 31, 2009. A superb southern cuisine brunch is served with local smooth jazz artists performing soothing tunes. Artists who have performed over the years include Ghalib Ghallab, saxophonist Skinny Williams, vocalist Joan Collaso, Denise Thimes, pianists Richard D. Johnson, Julius Tucker, vibraphonist Thaddeus Tukes and the Charles Health Trio to name a few. While the superb southern cuisine and soothing jazz tunes provide the atmosphere, the awarding of scholarships to students (college students are now recognized) has been the most rewarding.  Since 1996, approximately $95,000 has been awarded to almost 1000 African American students living in the Quad County area of Kane, Kendall, DuPage and Will.

From the Heritage Ball to the Jazz Brunch, the empowerment of business and community continues to be accomplished.

2024 Jazz Brunch

2023 Jazz Brunch

Previous Years

bottom of page