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Love for competition sparks music aspirations for Linfield singer

 Reprinted from the Curry Coastal Pilot

Jessie Goergen ’12 has earned quite a few honors for a 21-year-old college student. She’s won countless music competitions, including the 2010 Oregon State Fair Talent Search, the Linfield College solo competition, and is a two-time winner of the Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival’s outstanding soloist competition.

She also accumulated quite a few athletic achievements such as multiple all-league honors while she attended Brookings-Harbor High School.

“I just love competing,” Jessie said. “When you win competitions, it keeps encouraging you to do more.”

But it wasn’t until receiving a music scholarship to Linfield College that Jessie, a Music Vocal Performance and Political Science double major, decided to seriously pursue music.

“I didn’t classically train until college,” she said. “It was kind of like a huge eyeopener.”

Jessie currently trains in both classical and jazz styles. She studies with four different teachers every day.

“She’s good at a lot of things,” Jessie’s grandmother Peggy Goergen said. “She’s a good student, an excellent singer and when she was in high school she was a several- sport athlete.”

Despite all of her talents, Jessie doesn’t like to brag or show off.

“None of this ever goes to her head,” Peggy said. “She’s really down to earth.”

Peggy said she loves listening to her granddaughter sing because she has a great range, a wonderful tone and can sing almost any genre.

“She loves jazz, she’s great at country and she’s beautiful at pop,” Peggy said. “She also writes her own stuff. She’s just very versatile.”

Jessie’s former choir director at Brookings-Harbor High School and Azalea Middle School, Jerry Moffit, who taught Jessie for three years, agrees with Peggy.

He said her natural pipe, ear, willingness to explore and strong interest in jazz style set her apart.

“I like to think that I didn’t really teach her that much,”  Moffit said. “She’s a natural. I just gave her opportunities to perform.”

Moffit also said Jessie is always striving to improve.

“She’s always trying to get better,” Moffit said. “She’s never satisfied as a singer, which is a really good trait.”

Both Moffit and Peggy  said Jessie is an outstanding citizen.

“Lots of students you’re not too disappointed to leave,” Moffit said. “I felt disappointed I didn’t get to work with her longer.”

“She’s a great young kid,” Peggy said. “I know I’m prejudiced, but she’s a great young lady.”

Jessie attributes her interest and passion of music to being surrounded by music for as long as she can remember. Growing up, she always sang along to the radio, and her family is passionate about music as well.

“I love music because it’s a way for you to emotionally connect with an audience, a way to expresss yourself – and it’s therapy,” Jessie said. “It’s one thing that everyone has in common. It moves everyone. It’s so powerful.”

Jessie said her love of being on stage, and her admiration for big stars such as Christina Aguilera, Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks are what drive her.

“I admire them, and one day would like to be where they’re at,” Jessie said.

A few noteworthy previous performances have also shaped her outlook on music:  winning the state fair last summer, singing in the Linfield competition as a first-year student at the college and winning the solo competition of the Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival as a freshman in high school.

“That was the starting point when I wanted to get serious about singing jazz,” Jessie said.

After her senior year at Linfield in the fall, Jessie said she plans to attend law school, but will always continue to pursue music.

“My dream job is to be a lawyer for the music industry,” Jessie said.

She envisions continuing to sing in community settings, and possibly singing part time in a nightclub.

In her spare time, Jessie  loves playing sports, coaching softball, camping and spending time with her family, including her Dad Willy, Mom Amanda, 18-year-old brother Andrew, and 15-year-old sister Hannah. Jessie also loves country, jazz, rock, pop and all kinds of music.