Jazz Studies

North Central music major wins prestigious national jazz award

Apr 30, 2014

North Central College senior Alyssa Allgood has won DownBeat Magazine’s national Student Music Award for best collegiate jazz vocal soloist.

In its 37th year and considered one of the top student music competitions in the world, the Student Music Awards is a national contest that offers categories for junior high, high school and university music students and bands. The judges, comprised of professional musicians and educators, assess entrants based on a range of criteria: musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement and authority. The awards were announced in the magazine’s June issue, released April 29.

“To put this award in perspective, it’s tantamount to Sports Illustrated selecting the best collegiate football quarterback,” says Jack Mouse, North Central College adjunct assistant professor of music and coordinator of the jazz studies program.  

Allgood recorded an audition CD with her band and submitted three songs to the student contest at DownBeat.

A resident of Forest Park, Allgood is majoring in music with a focus on jazz studies and in organizational communication. She formed relationships with the jazz faculty at North Central College while attending the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp, beginning at age 12. She has attended the camp every summer since, mentored by the camp's team of internationally known jazz vocalists and instrumentalists.

“Jazz has always intrigued me because it gives me the chance to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself,” says Allgood. “Drawing from the rich history of the music, I can take on the challenge of creating my own voice in a uniquely personal and beautiful art form.”

Allgood largely attributes her musical success to the knowledge and experience she gained from North Central’s jazz studies program, citing the recording of her Student Music Award audition CD as one of her favorite musical experiences.

North Central College offers majors in music, choral and instrumental music education, and jazz studies. Students receive a strong liberal arts grounding and opportunities to perform in more than 20 instrumental and vocal groups, including large and small ensembles, opera, musical theatre and jazz combos. They also perform on varied stages, from a grand concert hall to intimate theatre settings.