Ashley Allison moved to Gilbert at age 5, right around the time she began singing and before the town was "on the map.’’
"I remember when we moved out here, it was all cornfields," she says. "I was like, ‘Where are we moving?’ ’’
Since then, droves of families like the young vocalist’s have helped put the town on the map by moving here. And Allison hopes to put it on the map as the hometown of a country music star.
"I love it when I’m like, ‘I’m from Gilbert,’ and people say, ‘Where’s that?’ ’’ she said.
Allison will have an opportunity to introduce the "New West’’ to the heartland of country western when she travels to Nashville in August to take classes at the Nashville School of Music, and showcase her voice in the Nashville Star Search Symposium.
The Gilbert High School junior has already won singing honors in her hometown — she took first place in this year’s "Sing Your Way to Gilbert Days" competition. Singing the country song "The Long Black Train," Allison won after two rounds of competition, earning the honor to sing the national anthem at Gilbert’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration.
She’ll also sing the national anthem in three performances at Gilbert Days in November. Allison said the anthem, which she performs without accompaniment, is a little challenging.
"You don’t think it would be because you sing it all through elementary school, but you have to make it different for the audience," she said.
Allison’s mother, Maryanne Hass, said her daughter’s vocal range helps her belt out "The Star-Spangled Banner.’’ Allison often sings as a first soprano in a school choir, but also loves performing the alto parts.
Voice and guitar lessons, songwriting, tennis and student council keep the 16-yearold busy, but she takes time out to watch episodes of USA Network’s "Nashville Star" or music videos on Country Music Television.
As both mom and manager for now, Hass has been busy assembling 50 press kits for the trip to Nashville. Both she and Ashley’s father, Ed, will accompany her there.
Hass said Allison’s win in the Gilbert competition provided a boost of confidence for the young singer’s upcoming performances. "It’s nice to have the community behind you," Hass said.