Born to sing: The Mallory sisters have been singing since they were toddlers
If you haven't heard of the Mallory Three yet, you definitely will know who they are in the near future.
The singing sisters from Sherwood are making quite a name for themselves on the local music scene and beyond as well as online.
The girls – Megan, 21, Chesney, 18, and Ivy, 16 – have formed their own singing group and have been performing with Michael Allen Harrison for the past three years, including about 50 performances at his Old Church Christmas concert series.
Before Christmas, the trio released their first EP, "M3 Christmas" with Harrison, their first music video for their new single, "Shenandoah," and two additional singles/videos. The Mallorys also performed an original song with Harrison on a K103 live Christmas show.
"We've been singing all our lives," Megan said. "Our parents (Gerry and Jenny) were in a singing group," and Jenny added, "We didn't have a TV, so we took them to tons of musicals and bought the sound tracks – they would sing along and dance. Gerry and I pastored a small church, and the girls would sing there too – they have great harmony."
Megan explained, "Singing is really fun for us, and we did a lot of singing in church and have done mostly Christmas stuff."
According to Jenny, her dad owns nursing homes, and when the girls were small, he would take them to entertain the residents by standing them on tables to sing, and "he still makes us do it, just not on tables," Chesney said.
Ivy recalled that when she was 8 years old, her grandpa took her to San Francisco, where she stood on a street corner and sang all the songs she knew, making $400 in three hours. "We did it twice," she said. "It was just for fun."
The girls first sang as a trio eight years ago for a local talent show, "Sherwood's Got Talent," where Harrison volunteered as a judge.
"I talked to him afterward, and he became Megan and Chesney's piano teacher," Jenny said.
Megan, a graduate of Sherwood High School, is a senior at Portland State University majoring in marketing and advertising management, and Chesney, also a graduate of SHS, is a junior at PSU majoring in history and intending to pursue a law degree. Both play the piano, and Chesney teaches beginning piano lessons.
Ivy, a sophomore at SHS, plans to pursue music education in college, but she differs from her sisters in a couple of ways: Ivy, who is a high soprano while her sisters are altos, also sings opera. And she plays the guitar, taking guitar lessons from Harrison's brother Brian, who provides the instrumentation for their music videos.
"When Ivy was 2 years old, she would sing along with 'Phantom of the Opera' and hit the high notes, and she takes voice lessons from Julie Ann Johnson (a local singer who performs with Harrison among others)," Megan said. "Our parents really trained Chesney and me – we've had no professional lessons."
Ivy said she definitely wants to make music her career, although she knows it can be a hard business to break into.
"We tried not to push them into the music business," Jenny said. "I never would have guessed they would have gone into it. Ivy I would have predicted, but Megan and Chesney are shy, and I wouldn't have thought they would be comfortable on stage. But as they've gotten older, they've come into their own – it's been neat to watch."
When the girls were growing up, the Mallorys even set up a stage in their garage with lights where the fledgling singers could perform with their friends. The girls' combined Christmas gift one year was a piano and sound system set-up complete with a recording system.
The trio started singing in talent shows and competitions, including the state fair, and Michael Allen Harrison invited them to start singing in his shows.
Perhaps their most amazing venture was singing in the Philippines last summer on an international television show that was broadcast all over the world. "It was pretty amazing," Megan said. "We also spent time in Hong Kong and Macao."
For the television show, they sang "Edelweiss" from "The Sound of Music" and a religious song, and a TV crew filmed their whole trip for broadcast, thanks to an amazing connection of the family's.
Gerry, whose dad was a missionary in the Philippines, grew up there. As part of his missionary work, Gerry's dad helped a man out of poverty and get established, and the man went on to become a multi-millionaire who owns the TV station where the girls performed.
"He came here to visit and heard the girls sing and asked them to appear on the show," Jenny said. "He asked our family to come ahead of time, and we spent almost three weeks traveling at the end of June and July."
The girls also are willing to help out good causes and share their talent to benefit various organizations.
Both Gerry and Jenny are teachers, which has fostered a desire in the sisters to make a difference in education. Jenny taught last year in Molalla, when the girls volunteered to perform at a school rally at Molalla Elementary School as "singing pirates" to promote reading in a heavily migrant community.
Ivy also volunteered to perform in a kindergarten musical performance of "Goodnight Moon" at the school.
This year Jenny is teaching in Hillsboro, and the girls have been invited to perform at Rosedale Elementary in Hillsboro in the spring.
"Our schedules are crazy," said Jenny, and Chesney added, "With two of us at PSU, it is hard to find time to get together to rehearse. Technically, we set one day a week aside to rehearse, especially if we have a show coming up."
They admitted that they occasionally disagree, "but when they have the finished product and are performing, they forget about it – it's just part of the process to get there," Jenny said.
Although the sisters are now professional performers, they have managed to keep the technical work in the family. Jenny learned how to shoot videos thanks to training at Tualatin Valley Community Television; dad Gerry is in charge of the reflectors and lights; and Megan does the editing.
Jenny also shoots the girls' still photos, while Gerry is "good with the computer, carrying equipment and figuring things out," the girls said
They find some costumes at garage sales but also have found a vendor in China who creates custom gowns made to fit them perfectly.
And when they need a backdrop for their music videos, downtown Portland or places like Champoeg State Park are free and provide dramatic backgrounds.
"We enjoy spending the time together as sisters and sharing these life experiences," Ivy said. "It makes good memories, and music is just so valuable to our lives."
Ivy also is competing in an ongoing national talent contest, "Sing Your Praise", that goes through March, and she is currently in third place nationwide and in first place in Oregon. The winner is determined by online votes, which cost voters nothing, but local businesses and individuals can sponsor her for additional votes.
"She would love to make Oregon/Sherwood proud by taking first place," Jenny said. "The grand prize is $10,000 and a recording with well-known artist Jaci Velasquez. It would be a dream come true."
The voting site is competition.virdition.com/sing-your-praise/ivy-mallory.
For more information about the Mallory Three, visit sistersmusic.net.