bandpiconeAllison LaRochelle, Middletown, and Tristan Garrity, Red Bank, perform with their Jersey Shore rock/blues group Crimson Sky. The two musicians also lend their musical abilities to aid victims of domestic violence, at a monthly yoga class.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

By most measures, Allison LaRochelle is a very accomplished young artist. The vocal major at Red Bank Regional High School‘s Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) has studied voice from the age of seven, and has been an active part of the Count Basie’s Rockit! youth performance program since its inception. Her powerful, Janis-Joplinesque voice has prompted such descriptions as “a mature woman trapped inside a teenager’s body.”

The Middletown senior is also the lead singer and co-songwriter for her locally based band, Crimson Sky. The rock/blues band has recently made it to the final round in the Stone Pony’s Rock-to-the-Top Contest, with the final competition occurring in January of this year.

She is also an excellent student, having earned entrance into the National Music, English and National Honor Societies. The member of RBR’s Chamber Choir recently joined the Harp ensemble, and has also been selected to the prestigious All Shore Choir.

Even with all that on her plate, one of the most rewarding gigs Allison LaRochelle has ever undertaken came about unexpectedly, when she attended a yoga class conducted by Eleonora Zampatti — a unique class known as Ode to the Moon, developed to bring awareness to the often-taboo topic of domestic violence, with class donations benefiting the Monmouth County-based nonprofit 180 Turning Lives Around.

A repeat victim of domestic violence, Zampatti explains, “Domestic violence is a topic which bears a lot of shame and we tend not to talk about it, but unfortunately because we don’t talk about, we don’t heal, and those who are abused tend to allow the same situation to occur again.”

Music is a key element to the class, as Zampatti carefully selects music and lyrics that aligns with this extremely sensitive subject matter. The yoga instructor was looking for a vocalist to sing live music in the class, when she learned of tAllison’s musical abilities. On a lark, she asked Allison if she would perform a selected song-list.

Allison agreed and returned to the next Ode to the Moon class with her powerful voice and 18 year-old guitar accompanist Tristan Garrity (also a member of Crimson Sky). She performed such relevant covers as Joss Stone’s “Right to Be Wrong,” Aerosmith’s “Dram On,” Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby,”  Christina Aguilera’s “I’m Okay,” and Rihanna’s “Stay,” among many others. The two played their live music during the entire class. The effect was amazing.

Eleonora remarks, “When I first heard her, I wondered how I was going to finish the class. It was so emotional it reached my soul.”

Allison and Eleonora formed a deep connection, and Eleonora was able to open up to her about her past. Allison reacted by writing a song for Eleonora to give voice to those inexpressible and excruciating emotions.

The refrain for “Lay Your Hand On Me” states, “Lay your hand on me, be my saving grace.  Lay your hand on me, I really need someone to help me find my sacred place.”  The song can be heard on YouTube here.

Allison comments, “It is an absolute honor to lend my voice for therapy. Eleonora states that I give her a voice. Like Eleonora, a lot of people do not know how to use their voice, and that is my job to give people a voice through my songs.”

She adds, “I didn’t realize the silence domestic violence brings. So, for me to give these victims a voice is so important and incredible, and is one of the most important things I have ever done.”

You can hear Allison’s outstanding voice and help the plight of those affected by domestic violence by attending the monthly Ode to the Moon class in Red Bank. The first class is free, and a donation is encouraged. For more information visit Eleonora Zampatti’s website.