Life is pretty exciting for a young Candler County musician who has known she wanted to sing since she was 4 years old.
Allison Chassereau’s path has taken her from a fascination with music at an early age to some pretty impressive performances for a small-town girl her age. Recently, she was among the top contenders at the National FFA Convention in Indiana, and next month she is slated to perform at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.
Chassereau, whose style is country and classic rock, also performs locally. She has turned heads at local festivals such as the Portal Catface Country Turpentine Festival and for the past six years has sung the national anthem for Metter High softball games.
But the lights were a bit brighter and the crowd a bit larger in Indianapolis. The opportunity was thrilling, she said.
Competitive members of the Future Farmers of America from all 50 states and Puerto Rico attended the FFA National Convention to compete in different divisions of agriculture, “from forestry to driving a tractor,” she said.
“The division I competed in was talent.”
Being selected for the national event was a surprise, she said.
“Before the end of my senior year at Metter High School, I performed at t he Georgia State FFA Convention,” she said.
Then, she sent in an audition video to nationals, “not expecting to receive a ‘congratulations, you made it!’”
“Being a member of the FFA for three years now, this was an absolute dream come true.”
Chassereau, the only child of Doug and Karen Durden Chassereau, grew up between Metter and Portal in an agricultural environment. Her father is in forestry, and they live on the Durden family farm in Candler County.
She was only 4 when she fell in love with music, she said.
“It all started when my parents took me to the Dixie Stampede in Tennessee, and I heard the Wild Oats band play ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia.’ I knew in that moment that I just had to learn to play an instrument.”
She plays the guitar as she sings.
Although Chassereau has country roots, there is a little bit of rock in her veins.
“My biggest musical influence is Freddie Mercury (lead vocalist for the band Queen) because he was truly a great performer and stole the show every time,” she said. “Besides country, I mainly play a lot of classic rock songs. I like to play classics that people can sing along with because it makes them feel like they’re a part of the performance.”
She plays and sings because she loves it, but performing, being appreciated and noticed is a pretty heady experience.
“I have been playing the guitar and singing for over 10 years now, and I never won competitions for my talent, so it was a huge honor to be considered one of the top 15 performers in the United States (at the National FFA Convention).
“No matter where I’ve gone or what I’ve done, music has always had a pull on my heart, so it was fitting to be chosen to sing the national anthem and perform ‘Jolene’ (as recorded by Dolly Parton) at the Cinch Rodeo in Indy.”
Chassereau is currently enrolled at Savannah Technical College, where she hopes to obtain an associate’s degree in dental hygiene.
“My goal is to clean teeth on weekdays and perform on weekends,” she said. “I hope to make it big in music someday, but at least I got a taste of it on the FFA big stage.”
She credits her parents and faith for her accomplishments, saying God has guided her.
“I knew from the start that music was my calling,” she said. “I believe that God has kept me on this musical journey to spread not only my love and passion for music, but his love for us. I now play and sing in my church’s praise band every Sunday morning, and I enjoy every bit of it.”
Her FFA counselor Jonathan Milligan said he looks forward to Chassereau’s December performance at the Governor’s Mansion and is proud of her achievement in FFA.
“Allison is an extremely talented performer and worked very hard to make it to the talent competition,” he said. “She did an outstanding job representing Metter FFA and Candler County.”
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.