When I tell people I’m a vocalist, they ask what kind of songs I sing. When I say “songs from the Great American Songbook” — such as “Fly Me to the Moon” and “In a Sentimental Mood” — I sometimes receive quizzical looks. Then I explain my attraction to these songs: To me, standards from the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s reflect the beauty of love. Tremendous value can be found in compelling lyrics paired with gentle and intricate melodies performed by seasoned musicians.

My dream of becoming a singer began at a young age, and I remember singing constantly as a little girl. As I grew up, that dream became more vivid and took greater hold of me. I started voice lessons for the first time in 2011 with Maggie Delaney Pothoff, vocalist for the Gypsy Jazz trio Harmonious Wail in Madison, Wis. Not long after that, I formed my own jazz trio. We perform fundraising concerts for various faith-based and community nonprofit organizations under the name Chance Allies and have raised approximately $1 million for such organizations as Haiti Allies, American Family Children’s Hospital, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, the Dane County Jail Chaplaincy and Good Neighbors Personal Essentials Pantry.

I feel a distinct connection with the songs we perform from bygone eras, including “Misty,” “When I Fall In Love,” “Black Coffee” and “What A Wonderful World,” and I hope to help listeners (some of whom I know prefer George Harrison or George Thorogood over George Gershwin) make a similar connection.

In recent years I’ve begun to spread my musical wings and pursue opportunities to sing with a variety of local groups. In addition to Chance Allies performances, you will also hear me as the vocalist for the Madison College Big Band and as a soloist in The Gospellers, a unique, state-wide gospel choir.

With so much war, politics and hate in this world, it’s almost criminal to ignore beauty when it’s right in front of us. I want my performances to provide a break from this messy universe and help listeners lose themselves in something beautiful and timeless. These songs, regardless of whether you’ve heard them before, will transport you back to a time when life was a much simpler proposition.

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