The world is waking up to the great jazz singer we have here in Forest Park. Alyssa Allgood is one of 10 finalists in a worldwide competition for jazz vocalists under 35. The contest is sponsored by the Montreux Jazz Artist Foundation. She is flying to Switzerland on July 14 to compete against singers from Japan, South Africa and Europe at the world’s most prestigious jazz festival. There are several ways we can help her out.
Alyssa became a finalist after submitting her online application and two songs in March. One of the songs, “Yardbird Suite” was off her new CD. The other was from a list of required songs: the Cole Porter classic, “I Get a Kick Out of You.”
When the singer saw the email from the foundation inviting her to the festival, she was visiting the Forest Park Public Library. “I started crying outside as I walked home,” she said. First Prize is a recording session and a week-long workshop in Montreux.
Alyssa’s first obstacle, though, was finding a way to get there. Thankfully, a sponsor is paying for her plane ticket. However, she needs an additional $1,500 to pay for her stay in Switzerland. With time running short, she has created a profile on GoFundMe. Supporters can make donations at www.gofundme.com/alyssaallgood.
When Alyssa arrives in Montreux, she will sing before a jury that includes jazz icon Al Jarreau. She is so excited about this opportunity, she couldn’t sleep for a week. If she finishes in the top three, she’ll compete in the finals the following day. Fans can view video footage from Montreux of her singing at the competition.
Apart from the judgment by the jury, there is a public contest in which we can all participate. Fans can go to the Montreux Academy website to watch You-Tube videos of her singing “You Say You Care” and “My Romance.” In true Chicago-style, we can vote early and often for her performance. Winning the public contest, will give her extra publicity and a spot in the Montreux Academy.
Alyssa isn’t just making it big overseas. She’s been invited to debut at Chicago’s oldest and most renowned jazz club, the Jazz Showcase. The club was started 66 years ago by jazz impresario, Joe Segal. His son, Wayne Segal, is now in charge of the line-up but Joe still collects the cover charge from each customer. For Alyssa’s gig on Monday, June 22, he won’t be asking for much: five bucks for students, $10 for adults.
She regularly attends performances at the club, located at 806 S. Plymouth. She gave the owner a copy of her new CD, Lady Bird, and her website address. Segal was impressed enough to book the Alyssa Allgood Quintet for shows at 8 and 10 p.m. The performances will serve as a release party for Lady Bird.
The place seats 170 and I’ve invited students and staff from my business college. Alyssa is doing her part to fill the place, inviting friends, family and fellow musicians. I think it would be great for a contingent of Forest Parkers to use our “big city access” to see Alyssa. She has already bought a sparkly black dress and purple shoes for the performance.
Purple is the color of royalty. Now that the world is discovering her amazing voice, Alyssa Allgood may someday take her place among jazz royalty.
John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.