Chicago native, Allison Semmes, who for more than two-an-a-half years starred as Diana Ross in the National Tour, “Motown: The Musical, “is returning to the Windy City to help celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the storied Chicago Children’s Choir. Fresh off the incredible National Tour, which ended on Broadway where Semmes received rave reviews for her starring role, the singer/actress is looking forward to performing for CCC’s 60th anniversary. Semmes was a member of the Chicago Children’s Choir for more than a decade. This writer talked with Semmes, as she was preparing to fly home to Chicago from New York, where she currently lives.
D.J. – Describe being a former member of the Chicago Children’s Choir. How did it impact your life and career?
A .S. – The Chicago Children’s Choir was a huge part of my childhood and foundation. I was a member from six until I was 18 years old. We would sing at a lot of galas and events around the city. I was exposed to singing many types of songs in Swahili, English, French, Latin, Hungarian, and performing many other types of worldly and cultural songs. I also met a lot of wonderful children who I will have as friends for life.
D.J. – What specifically did you learn about yourself, musically speaking, as a member of CCC?
A.S. – I learned a lot about the power of music. I learned musicianship. I learned about being discipline to music and performing, working and getting along with other members of CCC. I learned how much I really loved music, and how much I loved performing. I learned to have a common love for all people, and be a part of something that was much bigger than myself…I learned to be a part of a greater cause.
D.J. – Why did your parents decide to put you in CCC at such an early age?
A.S. When I was three and singing around the house in harmony to the vacuum cleaner, they knew they had to get me into a choir at some point. My older brother was in the Chicago Children’s Choir first, so anything he did, I wanted to do. However, I thank God that my parents saw my gift and put me in the Chicago Children’s Choir, and they continued to support me all the way through.
D.J. – You are returning to Chicago to help celebrate CCC’s 60th anniversary. What will you be doing with CCC?
A.S. – I’m being presented as a CCC alumna. I will be singing a few selections, backed by the Chicago Children’s Choir (Voice of Chicago). I will also perform a special selection with the choir. I’m excited about coming back. My heart is so full right now.
D.J. – What does it mean to be recognized as a former CCC member that has gone on to star in “Motown: The Musical,” which was presented in a multiplicity of cities across America, even into Canada, and back on Broadway?
A.S. – I’m excited to be recognized as an example and proof of what the Chicago Children’s Choir can produce. I’m excited about meeting the kids, because for 12 years, I was where they are now. I can’t wait to see and perform with the choir.
D.J. – Is there anything that you would like to add?
A.S. – For 60 years, CCC has been true to its mission of “inspiring and changing lives through music.” So, I’m happy to be a part of CCC’s 60th Anniversary fall gala, which will raise funds to inspire and unite more than 4,000 young people through music. CCC has given much to the shaping of my professional career as a singer and performer. I’m just excited that CCC continues to give the children of Chicago an opportunity to a part of something that’s bigger than they are, but at the same time, give them a sense of value and importance.
The Red Jacket Optional 2016 Chicago Children’s Choir 60th Anniversary Fall Gala, featuring Allison Semmes, will be held Friday, Oct. 21 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. at The Geraghty, 2520 S. Hoyne Ave., in Chicago. For ticket information, call 312.849.8300 Ext. 127 or log on to www.ccchoir.org.
For more information on singer/actress Allison Semmes, log on to www.allisonsemmes.com.