The seeds of Chance Allies were sown on a cold January morning in the arboretum running with my friend LuAnn. I had just started taking voice lessons after dreaming of being a singer for most of my life and I wanted to find an accompanist. I asked LuAnn if she knew of anyone who played piano who might be interested in working with me. She said she thought David Allen, a member of her church who played jazz in worship from time to time might be interested. David is a self-taught musician whose day job is being a Pediatric Endocrinologist at the Children’s Hospital in Madison.
David and I met at his house in early February, 2011 to see if we were compatible. He hadn’t ever accompanied a vocalist before and I hadn’t ever sung jazz before but we had fun playing around and decided we’d like to work together. Our first public performance in May, 2011 was a fundraising concert for an organization near and dear to my heart – Haiti Allies (www.haitiallies.org).
After that first night we had so much fun that David and I decided to take our show on the road and do as many fundraising concerts for Haiti Allies and for other non-profit and church based organizations as we could. I estimate that at this point we’ve been privileged to be present at events that have raised close to a million dollars for charities in the Madison area. So far, in addition to a number of concerts benefiting Haiti Allies, we’ve done events for Walbridge School, The Children’s Hospital, DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services), Good Neighbor Essentials Pantry and others.
How did we get the name Chance Allies? We had a naming party at my house one evening in 2012. It was David and his wife, Sally, LuAnn and her partner, Leslie and me and my former partner. I believe it was St. Patrick’s Day as a matter of fact because we served Shepherd’s Pie. After supper, we sat around in our living room and threw out words that we thought described our music and our efforts to be philanthropic. The words that stuck after two or three rounds of putting words together and trying different combinations were Chance Allies. Chance referring to the spirit-led way in which David and I met and Allies referring to our efforts to be allies in fundraising in and around Madison.
In 2012 we added Lucas Koehler (I call him Lucas the great) to our little group. Lucas is an amazing human being and an incredible bass player who has really helped us pull together. He’s the professional musician among the three of us and always raises the bar. The three of us have a lot of fun when we have the opportunity to perform in any setting and we’d love to do more of it!
So, there’s the story of our name and the story, so far, of Chance Allies.