WATERLOO --- Ever since Ally Bagenstos was just a year old, she was singing.

It was the ABCs at first, said her mother, Jenny Bagenstos of Waterloo. After that, she never really stopped.

Now 11 and a sixth-grader at Hoover Middle School, Ally will travel to Nashville to sing in "Nashville Spotlight," a showcase of several dozen teenagers at Nashville Palace.

It's something she sees herself doing for a long time.

"I want to be a country singer," Ally said. "My number one is Carrie Underwood ... I like to belt like she does."

She does, indeed. On her YouTube channel, allyscountrystrong, Ally can be seen belting the National Anthem at a Waterloo Black Hawks game, songs at weddings and company picnics and during recitals at the Lis March Academy, where she takes vocal lessons.

"She sings a lot all over town. People say she's gotta be on 'America's Got Talent,'" Jenny Bagenstos said.

Ally's been in competitions at Sturgis Falls, the Bremer County Fair and the Iowa State Fair, and is always looking for new places to sing, said Jenny Bagenstos.

That's why Nashville Spotlight --- though it will only be locally broadcast in Nashville --- will be perfect for her, Bagenstos said.

"It's a great opportunity for her to get in front of lots of people and get exposure and get her name out there --- that's what she wants," Jenny Bagenstos said. "You gotta start young."

To get her to the Nashville Palace on June 8, the family is holding a fundraiser at Jameson's in Waterloo to defray their travel costs.

Friends of the family, including singers from the bands Dennis Wayne Gang and The Wicked Andersons, will perform alongside Ally and other students of the Lis March Academy. There will also be a silent auction.

"We're going no matter what," Jenny Bagenstos said. "Any money will help."

Those fans can also look forward to YouTube videos from her Nashville performance, though the family doesn't know when those will appear on the site.

Though Ally's been to Nashville once before, on vacation, she's more excited this time.

"It's gonna be really different 'cause it's on TV, and this time ... it could make me famous," she said. "It's always been my dream to be a star and have everybody know who I am."

Benefit for Ally Bagenstos' trip to Nashville

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today

Where: Jameson's Public House, Waterloo

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