Musical collaboration provides a ‘magical’ experience all around
Guests at the Stan Musial Grand Slam Gala were treated to a beautiful musical performance when local singer Allison Glass and CHMO resident Ed took the stage. Their song, “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, received a standing ovation and provided goosebumps to all.
The beauty of their collaboration went far deeper than the four minutes they spent onstage, though. It was a magic that began the first time Ed and Allison met, as they introduced themselves and shared the first few notes.
Ed says his outlook on life can be a bit like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh – not always the happiest or most positive. He’s working on that, but he says working with Allison on this performance, and then the performance itself, made him feel like a different person.
“Things like that to me are kind of magical,” Ed says. “For a second, it makes me feel like everyone else, not like I’m homeless and having other challenges.” He left their practice sessions in a good mood, free of stress, and feeling more positive about himself.
Allison says she enjoyed the experience, as well, and she is continually amazed at how music brings people together.
The two musicians clicked from the start. “Sometimes the initial run-throughs can be awkward and challenging, but that was not the case at all with Ed,” Allison says. “From the moment we met, it was clear to me that he was kind, as well as passionate about music.”
Ed had a similar first impression: “She was really friendly and welcoming, with a positive energy,” he says. “Allison was supportive. We worked as a team and both added our own touches to the song.”
Ed, age 18, already has an associate’s degree in music education. He went to an accelerated high school and then community college in his home state of Pennsylvania. He has been part of the Transitional Living Program at Covenant House Missouri since October. Ed plays piano strictly by ear and has been honing his talent since he was 11. He also plays cello, guitar, percussion instruments and stringed bass.
Allison, a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans and Washington University in St. Louis, performs with a number of companies in St. Louis and beyond. She has appeared on the rosters of Carnegie Hall, New Orleans Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Union Avenue Opera, Gateway Opera and Stages St. Louis. Along with her operatic credits, Allison has performed with the St. Louis Symphony, Orchestrating Diversity El Sistema, Cathedral Basilica and various St. Louis area churches.
“This entire experience, and especially the opportunity to get to know Ed better, was a joy and I could not have been more impressed with who he is as a musician and a person,” Allison says. “This also helped me to better understand the important work that Covenant House undertakes with their youth, encouraging them to use art and music to express themselves and connect with others.