Another incredible day in Pittsburgh

In my previous blog post titled “Memorable Performance”, I had written about the first time that I attended a Jackie Evancho concert in October of 2011.  It was truly an incredible experience that I thought could not have been topped.  In that previous blog post, I expressed a desire to meet Jackie someday, but wasn’t sure if it would ever happen.  Because my current family life would be prohibitive to attend concerts beyond a reasonable driving distance, I thought that it would be quite a while before Jackie would be performing close enough again in the area.  Well, all I can say is that prayers were answered!  At the end of November, there would be an announcement of some new concert dates scheduled for Jackie to perform in December.  Pittsburgh was on that schedule for the 20th of December.  I went ahead and pitched the idea of attending the concert to my wife.  It would be our own special Christmas gift to each other.  My wife has also become a very big fan of Jackie, so she was on-board with the idea.  As soon as tickets became available, I would not hesitate again to purchase them, and I did.  This time, I decided to go all out and purchase VIP tickets for my wife and I.  These VIP tickets were not just for attending the concert; they also included the opportunity to meet Jackie Evancho in person!

Concert day – December 20th, 2011 at Pittsburgh

The day seemed to go by so fast.  My wife and I drove to Pittsburgh on the same day of the concert and arrived around 3:00 pm.  Check-in for the VIP events was at 3:30 pm, so we were doing very good with the timing of our arrival.  Unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad for the drive.  It was raining the entire time we drove to Pittsburgh.  Luckily we found a nice parking spot in the parking deck just across the street from the Benedum Center For The Performing Arts.  When we arrived at the doors, we could see some fans gathered in the outside lobby of the hall.  We went inside and the atmosphere was already electric.  It was nice to meet many of the fans that I have been corresponding with on various fan club sites.  We were all sharing our giddiness for being at the concert.

VIP Events

Soon we were given our VIP badges for the events that would take place that day.  There was a group of about 60 or 70 of us.  We were escorted into the main hall lobby.  We could hear the orchestra already rehearsing with Chrisopher Dallo — a guest artist who would be appearing on Jackie’s concert.   Christopher Dallo is an opera singer in his 20’s who was in one of the first talent shows of which Jackie Evancho had performed.  She came in second place and he won the competition.  He was really booming out his songs during rehearsal and sounded very powerful, even though we were still in the lobby.  He has an amazing voice.  Shortly later, we were briefed by a Jackie Evancho team member about how the events would unfold.  The sound-check would come first.  This consisted of being invited to witness the rehearsal.  We were not permitted to take pictures during the rehearsal, nor did they want us to applaud (I really wanted to take some pictures, but I played by the rules).  There was limited time and they did not want anything impeding the rehearsal.  Jackie was not initially on stage when we were seated in the performance hall.  After a while, she peeked out from behind the stage with her father Mike.  It was so surreal to see her up-close like that for the first time.  Soon, she walked out on stage to rehearse and gave all of us a big wave and smile.  Jackie only rehearsed one song (“O Holy Night”).  I would have hoped that Jackie would have stayed out on stage more for the rehearsal, but the remaining time was spent watching the orchestra go through each piece without her.  For me, this was still a treat, because I have never witnessed a professional orchestra of this level go through a rehearsal.  Being a volunteer musician myself, it was interesting to see how a professional orchestra rehearses.  Turns out, it is very similar to what I was accustomed to doing at rehearsals.  Once the sound-check / rehearsal was over, Jackie came out and was to the right in a small area next to the seats where we were sitting.  A chair was set up for her to sit on.  She was dressed casual, but still looked wonderful.  Jackie just lights up a room when she comes in.  We would all get to go up one row at a time to briefly (and I mean briefly) meet her and get a picture taken with her.  Jackie was all smiles and just so full of joy.  Even though it was raining outside, the sun was shining inside with Jackie’s presence.  Lisa (Jackie’s mother), and two of Jackie’s siblings (Jacob, and Rachael) were sitting back from where Jackie was located.  I did not get a chance to meet them, even though I was hoping to.  Once the Meet and Greet got started, the whole experience went by in a flash.  Before I knew it, my wife and I were next to go up. Talk about a whirlwind experience! We had about 30 seconds with Jackie, but it was 30 seconds well spent.  We said Hi and gave her a card containing a small gift for her to share with the family. I tried to explain the meaning behind it.  It was a prayer with some items pertaining to Saint Francis of Assisi.  He is a well-known in the Catholic Church for being the patron saint of animals and pets, so I thought it was a fitting gift for her since she has a lot of pets and loves animals so much.  In addition, there is a prayer that Saint Francis is known for that somehow resonates with me when it comes to Jackie:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

I wish that we could have had more time at the Meet and Greet, but I understand they were on a very tight schedule.  My wife and I were in such a daze when we met Jackie; we totally forgot to introduce our names to her.  The card we gave her had our names in it though, so I am sure she will remember us among the thousands of people she has already met…, Right?

After the Meet and Greet, we had some time to go out to eat at the Renaissance Hotel with some of the fans that we had met.  It had finally stopped raining and we were able to enjoy the walk to the hotel without getting wet.  We all met for dinner and had a really nice time talking anyway we could about Jackie. It is really amazing how much in-common we all have with each other when it comes to our thoughts about Jackie.  Soon it was time to go to the concert.  When we arrived back at the Benedum Center, we were escorted to our VIP seats.  My wife and I were in the fourth row on the end of the center Grande Circle section. The seats were perfect!  We were just to the left of the microphone stand where Jackie would be located.

Concert time – 7:30pm

The programming for the concert was exceptional!  Jackie performed some music from her “Dream With Me” CD on the first half and additionally some selections from her “Heavenly Christmas” CD and “O Holy Night” CD on the second half.  In addition, the orchestra opened up each half of the concert with an orchestral piece.  Jackie would then come out after each orchestral piece had been played.  There were some breaks in each half for Christopher Dallo to come out and perform a solo piece as well.

Each time that Jackie came out on stage, the place just lit up with everyone cheering.  One of the biggest impressions I got was how relaxed and carefree she appeared on stage.  When I first saw her at the Oct. Pittsburgh concert, I was on the first-tier balcony.  Let me say, it is a HUGE difference being at a concert when you are right up front. Jackie is just mesmerizing when you see her perform at such a close range.  It seems as though she is singing directly to you.  She makes the most amazing eye contact that I felt like she was really paying attention to everyone and giving each of us our own individual serenade.  Jackie seemed so much more in command on the stage than the first performance I saw (and she was in command at that performance too).  She held the microphone most of the time and occasionally would walk about the stage from one side to another.  She seems so naturally comfortable up on stage.  It is just spellbinding to see someone so young having such great stage presence.  I am also quite amazed at how much power she has in her voice.  She sang so beautifully, I had to wipe the tears from my eyes several times because of all of the emotions that Jackie stirs up.  Christopher Dallo also performed wonderfully as well.  Jackie gave him a nice introduction and talked about how he beat her on the talent competition they were in.  She gave him a lot of credit and told us how they were such good friends.  It was really nice to see that.  He and Jackie performed “The Prayer” as a duet. They were really incredible together.  There were some wonderful moments of friendship exchanges with them holding hands and having their arms around each other while they were singing.  It was really a sight to behold!  Here is this mid-20s opera singer performing a duet with an 11 year-old girl who is staying right with him note for note.

I felt like the crowd was really into the show. There were numerous standing ovations after each song with loud cheering and yelling.  Most of the time, the cheering would start before the orchestra had a chance to close out a piece.  Jackie gave two encores at the end as she had done in past concerts on the tour.  At the end of the last encore, I felt as though the house lights came up a little too quick and sort of quenched the applause that I think would have gone on further had they stayed down.  But, all-in-all, the crowd was definitely showing a lot of appreciation and Jackie was just eating it up.  She was waving, smiling, and giggling a lot.  It really warms my heart to see her so happy on stage like that.

There was one small glitch that I will go ahead and mention.  During Jackie’s performance of “White Christmas”, the microphone cut out on her for a while and suddenly she was without amplification.  She had to sing a bit with the mic. out of commission.  Briefly, she had a look of concern, but kept on going (just like any pro would do).  Most kids her age would probably panic in a situation like that, but Jackie held it together really well.  After about 15 or 20 seconds, the mic. was restored; Jackie gave a thumbs up and went on with the song like nothing even happened.  The crowd cheered her on in support.  When we were exiting the theater, I overheard someone talking with the audio technician about what had happened.  Somehow they lost signal with the mic., and then was able to get it back.  At first I thought that maybe Jackie had accidentally turned it off, but I don’t think that was the case, because when it came on, she was in the middle of trying to sing through it.  Based on what the technician said, it sounds like there was some interference with the wireless signal and they had to make some adjustments to get the signal back.

When the concert was over, my wife and I didn’t want to leave.  We would exchange various accolades of the concert with the people around us.  Most of us were so spellbound, we could barely speak.  I was talking with a gentleman whose voice was cracking with emotion after the show was over.  He told me how he never really liked classical music very much until he heard Jackie and now he loves it.  You could just tell how emotional everyone felt from the whole experience.

I just cannot believe how emotionally charged I am from this concert.  Jackie has such an indescribable effect.  I am so glad that I got to meet her and hope that I will get to do it again in the future.  I am thankful for living close to Pittsburgh and having had two chances to see Jackie in concert.  I keep hoping that someday she will perform in my area again.   My current family lifestyle is prohibitive to traveling very far, so as long as I can go to a concert within reasonable driving distance, I am going to make every effort to be there.  I would encourage anyone who has not seen Jackie Evancho in concert to do so.  It is an experience that is beyond words.  You have to see it for yourself in order to understand the great gift that this child has and how much she can reach out to humanity with her beautiful voice and her charming personality.

My wife and I posing with Jackie Evancho

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Memorable Performance

On October 16th, 2011, I experienced a live performance by Jackie Evancho in Pittsburgh at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts.  Needless to say, it was one of the most memorable performances that I have ever witnessed in my life.    Up until about two days before the concert, I hadn’t even contemplated being able to attend.  I had resigned to the notion that because Jackie was singing for her hometown of Pittsburgh, the tickets would be a rare commodity, even though I would only have a two-hour drive from my hometown to Pittsburgh, PA.  In addition, a hectic family life lead me to believe that even if I did get tickets, the possibility of having a free Sunday to attend would be remote.  Basically, I gave up too easily without even trying, making lame excuses — schedule conflicts, tickets are too expensive, my wife won’t want to go, too far to drive, etc..  Occasionally, I would make a feeble scan on the Internet for tickets, only to find nothing.  I was right to a certain degree, and was also wrong because of a lack of due diligence.  The tickets to the Pittsburgh concert did indeed sell out rapidly, and I just flat-out gave up and accepted the notion that I wouldn’t be able to attend.  Time to move on.

In the months that would go by after the concert had sold out, my admiration of Jackie Evancho grew stronger.  I had purchased her “Dream With Me” CD and DVD, watched countless YouTube videos of her past performances, and witnessed a tremendous amount of positive discussions about Jackie from people on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.  Those who had been to her past concerts had expressed a tremendous amount of joy from what they had experienced.  Suddenly, I was hooked.  The things that I had read and seen totally touched my heart and I had come to the realization that I needed to see Jackie perform live.  The need for this experience was nothing like I had ever known before.  It was almost as if my very soul was yearning for it.  I would never have thought that I would have such a strong sense of admiration for a little 11-year-old girl who just happened to sing with one of the most tremendous musical voices that I had ever heard.

About a week before the Pittsburgh concert, I had noticed comments on the Jackie Evancho discussion forums on Facebook in which people who would be attending the concert were beaming with anticipation. I will admit that I was envious.  I developed a tremendous yearning to be at the concert, but I had all but given up on the possibility.  Then something came over me.  Maybe, just maybe, tickets would become available if there were cancellations.  I have always believed that God hears our prayers and somehow answers them in ways we may not realize at times.  So, I left it in God’s hands.  If it was God’s will that I needed to attend, then somehow it would happen.  I resumed my search for tickets, contacting the Pittsburgh Opera, searching on-line ticket brokers, and even looking on Ebay.  As fate would have it, I would get a chance on the Tuesday before the Sunday concert to purchase two tickets that I had found on the Internet @ $85 a piece (one for me and my wife).  However,  I did not purchase them until I had a chance to check with my wife to see if she wanted to go, and if our schedule was clear or not.  Now, I have frequently been a victim of the old proverb, “He who hesitates loses out.”  Turns out, I fell victim again.  In the time that it took me to check with my wife, the tickets were gone.   Turns out, my wife told me she would love to go see Jackie and that our Sunday was clear.  Unfortunately, it appeared as though it wasn’t going to happen.  There it was, the chance I had been looking for and it just slipped away.  At this point, I was about ready to kick myself for letting a rare chance slip right through my fingers. I had thought that I had blown it.

Several days had gone by, and it was now Friday.  I had made a few last-ditch attempts to find tickets again up until this day, and nothing was coming up.  When Friday came, I had all but given up.  For whatever reason, I made one more last-ditch Internet search, and suddenly, there they were, two tickets right there in plain site on my screen, but they were pricey @ $166 per ticket + shipping.  At this point, cost meant nothing.  I would not hesitate again and made the purchase.  FedEx would have them in my hands by Saturday afternoon.  The total price was almost 3 times the $60 face value of the tickets, but it didn’t matter to me anymore.  My wife and I were going to Pittsburgh on Sunday.  All I could think about was the MasterCard commercials that chalk up all the costs for going to a concert, and then I would chime in with, “Attending a Jackie Evancho concert with your beloved wife on Sweetest Day weekend… Priceless! ”

In my opinion, the concert was worth every penny that I spent on those tickets.  The Benedum Performance Hall was one of the most spectacular venues that I have ever seen.  Jackie Evancho gave an absolutely amazing performance and my wife and I were in awe for having experienced it.  We had wiped our eyes frequently from the tearful emotions that Jackie invokes when she sings.  You can’t help but ask yourself, “How can such an amazing singing voice come from such a small 11-year-old child?”  It is truly amazing!

Before we knew it, the evening was over and we had returned home holding on to the fond memories that we had experienced on that Sunday, October 16th, 2011.  During our time in Pittsburgh, we also had met some of the fans that I had been corresponding with on Facebook, with whom I share a bond through our admiration of Jackie.  I wish that I could go back in time and experience it all again.

If I had only one regret is that if I had purchased my tickets at face value, the higher price that I spent could have been used to purchase a ticket to actually meet Jackie and her family (another dream that I would like to have come true someday), but I can’t complain;  I at least was able to attend a concert that I had once thought was totally improbable.  Being able to meet Jackie someday —  I guess I’ll leave that in God’s hands again.

Follow the link below to see a video of Jackie performing at this concert:

http://www.wpxi.com/videos/entertainment/jackie-evancho-performs-with-pittsburgh-opera-at/vDtz8/

Impressions of “Dream With Me” CD

Several months have passed since the release of Jackie Evancho‘s “Dream With Me” CD on June 14th, 2011.  I purchased my copy sometime in July.  From the first time I started listening, I was amazed at how much Jackie’s voice had progressed since her appearance on America’s Got Talent in 2010. At the time of the show, her performances were exceptional.  As I listened to the CD months later, it was as if Jackie had taken her already amazing talent and propelled it to the next level.  The vocals that are produced from this gifted little girl (11 years old at the time the CD was released) are absolutely incredible.  Over 2 months have passed since I first listened to it, and I am still playing it almost daily in my car.  It draws me in like no other recording has ever done.  There is this uncanny sense of peace and tranquility that comes over me when I listen to her sing.  It is almost indescribable.  The CD covers a range of musical genres that highlight Jackie’s singing style very well.  Each track is beautifully orchestrated and the sound quality is exceptional.

For anyone who has not purchased this CD or at least watched some of the videos of her singing on PBS Great Performances as shown on YouTube , I would highly encourage you to do so – and to be clear, I am not a paid promoter.  Jackie is a rare pearl that will fill your heart with joy when you see and hear her perform.

The only critical comment that I would make of the CD is that there does seem to be a bit of background noise that was picked up on the “Nessun Dorma” track.  It almost sounds as if someone bumped a mic. during the recording.  This could be due to it being recorded live.  I have watched the PBS Great Performances video of “Nessun Dorma” as well (where I believe the CD recording was taken from), and it does not appear that Jackie had anything to do with the background noise.  It may have been an orchestra member or stage hand that bumped something that was picked up on the recording.  It occurs about 3 or 4 times, but does not detract from the piece.  I am a bit surprised that it could not be “edited out” of the recording considering the advancements in audio processing that are available today.

From my perspective and personal tastes regarding each piece on the CD, I have come up with my own order of favorites concerning each track.  Keep in mind that this was not easy considering I absolutely love each and every track, but I think that I do have a slight preferential ranking that I would like to share – basically an order of favorites among favorites.  The rankings that I have come up with are as follows:

  1. “Lovers” by Shigeru Umebayashi – Absolutely my most favored track.  It is just such a powerful piece of music and to hear Jackie’s performance of it with such great orchestral backing is just mesmerizing.
  2. “Nessun Dorma” by Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Adami, Renato Simoni – Jackie broke the mold singing this piece considering it is primarily meant to be performed by male adult tenors.  However, Jackie took this thing on and totally nailed it.  She made it her own and created a new dimension to this piece that is fresh and inspiring.  Even though there is some background noise in portions as mentioned earlier, I still would rank this as part of my top picks.
  3. “Imaginer”  by Walter Afanasieff,  Lara Fabian – Just when I was blown away by Jackie  taking on the complex task of singing in Italian with “Nessun Dorma”, she goes one step further and sings in French on “Imaginer” with equally amazing skill.  The emotion that comes from her interpretation of this piece is absolutely brilliant.
  4. “The Lords Prayer” by Albert Hay Malotte  – This is probably one of the most touching songs that Jackie sings on the CD.  When I first played this for my wife and kids in the car, everyone was speechless.  When it had ended, you could hear a pin drop.  It was as if our souls had been touched in a unique and profound way.  When I pray this prayer, I now hear Jackie singing it in my head and I feel an even deeper connection with God because of it.
  5. “To Believe” by Matthew Evancho – This is another spiritually touching piece that Jackie sings.  This was written by her uncle who is a musical composer.  It showcases Jackie in a very charming and endearing way as a prayer in song.  Having a children’s’ choir for accompaniment to Jackie is another wonderful touch within this piece that portrays the sacred innocence of childhood.  I think the lyrics illustrate the hopes and dreams of us all.

From here on, it starts getting a bit harder for me to rank.  I pretty much have equal favoritism for each of these next pieces, but if I will rank them nonetheless.

  1. “Nella Fantasia” by Ennio Morricone, Chiara Ferrau  – Another beautiful Italian piece that Jackie sings so effortlessly.  This is one of the reasons why Jackie’s voice has such a great appeal.  She can beautifully sing a song like this with a gentle style that is not overpowering.
  2. “O mio ba babbino caro” by Giacomo Puccinni – This piece has special meaning to me, because it is the first debut piece that I heard Jackie sing on America’s Got Talent.  This is where her launch to stardom began and it will always be something dear to me and probably many of her fans.
  3. “Dream With Me” by David Foster, Linda Thompson, and Jackie Evancho – This is the title track on the CD and I love the fact that Jackie had a hand in writing it.  I am not sure of the level of contribution that Jackie made on this piece, but just to know that she was involved with it is very appealing.  It is indeed a dreamy song full of things you would expect an 11-year-old girl to dream about, which is what I love about it.
  4. “Ombra mai fu” by George Frideric Handel – The vocal entrance that Jackie makes after the intro is one of the many reasons to love her performance of this piece.  In addition, she demonstrates great control over her voice by showcasing her ability to hit a broad range of notes with a great sense of pitch while making it seem effortless.
  5. “A Mother’s Prayer” by David Foster, Carol Bayer Sager – This piece has been performed many different ways by many different artists.  Typically performed as a duet, Jackie Evancho and Susan Boyle team up to record this piece.  Although the recording was made using “studio magic” to combine Jackie and Susan’s voices to form the duet, it is masterfully done and is a joy to hear.
  6. “Somewhere” by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim – Another amazing use of “studio magic” to combine the voices of Jackie Evancho and the legendary Barbra Streisand.  Jackie and Barbara complement each other very well in this piece.
  7. “All I Ask of You” by Charles Hart, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Richard Stilgoe – For anyone who has followed Jackie Evancho, this piece should have special meaning since it is from “The Phantom of the Opera” — one of the reasons why Jackie became inspired to sing.  Starting at age 8, she began singing songs from the musical and it eventually lead to where she is today.  You can sense the passion that she has for this piece when she sings.
  8. “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Leigh Harline, Ned Washington – An all time Disney classic.  At first I though this piece was a bit beneath the skills of Jackie until I listened to it.  She treats this piece with an equal level of grace as the more complex works that she performs.  I believe that Disney could use this as their headline rendition, it is that good!
  9. “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan – Although this comes in at the bottom of the list (something has to when you rate things), I think this is another fine performance by Jackie that deserves accolades for sure.  Although I personally feel that Jackie is better suited for classics as opposed to pop music, she still does a wonderful job with this piece and I can understand why it was chosen for her to perform — she has the voice of an angel and it is only fitting for her to sing it.

As I said earlier, I am not a paid promoter, nor am I a professional music critic.  I am just a simple man who has been impressed beyond belief by the wonderful gift of music that God has allowed me to enjoy.  I think that Jackie is heaven-sent and I truly cherish what she has done so far.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

To see one of my favorite reviews of “Dream with Me”  and of her other releases  on Amazon, click here.

Why do I admire Jackie Evancho?

I am not sure why I am compelled to write a blog entry on this topic, but I have a deep desire to do so based on inspiration that I have found in an 11-year-old girl named Jackie Evancho.  So here goes my first blog attempt.

It has been over a year since America was introduced to Jackie Evancho on the TV show called America’s Got Talent in 2010. At the time she started competing/performing on the show, it was clear that she was a very gifted child with extraordinary singing talent. But after the show’s season ended for that year, I would have no idea just how special she is until this summer (2011) when, for whatever reason, I felt like passing the time away by searching for videos of her on YouTube. I came across many videos of Jackie Evancho singing on various TV talk shows, performance halls, and also saw some videos of her singing on PBS Great Performances. One video in particular that caught my attention was of her singing “Nessun Dorma” by Puccini. I was mesmerized by how lovely she sang such a complex and challenging piece of music. Coming from an instrumental music background (Bachelor of Music in Education, 1985) I can truly appreciate the natural musicality that she shows at such a young age.  She is so expressive in her approach to the music. Her performance of this piece and many others has moved me to tears. I cannot explain why or how, but for whatever reason the vocals that she is capable of producing at such a young age is overwhelming – consuming the listener into a deep connection that penetrates the soul. In the time that followed my listening and viewing experiences, I could not help but become compelled to discover more videos of her. Each video that I found was special in its own way and had an emotional affect on me. You could tell that she would immerse herself in the music almost as if she was intimately connected with God. I said to myself, “God is singing to us through Jackie.” How amazing it is that such splendor could be shown to us through such a small child!

I don’t have words to express why I have been affected so much by this little girl. Maybe it is the combination of the charm of her age coupled with her uncanny ability to sing the genre of music that she performs. It may also be because there seems to be more to her than just a talented singer. From what I can tell she seems genuinely nice, kind, respectful, and caring.  As I continue to dig further into the life of Jackie, as seen through the Internet, I am truly amazed at how well she composes herself when she is in the spotlight. She has given many interviews where she is joyful and pleasant – all while staying true to herself as a kid. She comes across as being very well-rounded for an 11 year-old. That is quite a lot to believe for anyone who has not viewed her videos, but I can say that I have seen all of these things without ever having met her.  Of course, there are always differences in how a person can be perceived in the media vs. real-life, but I would hope that the things that I have read and watched are true indicators of her character.  I believe that they are!

There has been plenty of testimonial videos from very prominent people who have nothing but praise for Jackie.  The comments pour in over her videos almost daily.  She has truly touched many lives by simply showcasing the talents that God has given her.  I have spent a lot of time scanning through comments that people have written to her on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. She has impacted the lives of many people. Some have even claimed to have found a belief in God when once they had none, based solely on how they were astounded by her singing ability. Others have found inner peace within themselves even during troubling times.  How amazing that a child like this can have such a positive impact on people.

I believe that one of the reasons why Jackie is held together so well is that she has a very strong foundation in her family. I would like to express my compliments to her parents. I think that they have done a tremendous job with managing their family while being thrown into the entertainment limelight with Jackie’s recent fame. This has probably been quite a ride for them and I pray that they are able to keep up with the rigors of balancing home-life with the attention that has surrounded Jackie. I remember when my children were under 12. It is a fun and challenging time – some of the fondest years that I have had as a parent.  My advice is to cherish it as much as you can.

I think that Jackie Evancho has so much going for her as a singer and a person as long as she remains true to herself and isn’t corrupted by the entertainment industry to become something that doesn’t suit her.  I hope she continues to remain a classical-crossover singer or perhaps just a classical performer.  She seems to fit very well into that genre.

I can truly say that I am indeed a fan and would hope to be able to see her live in concert some day.  I listen to her “Dream With Me” CD on a regular basis and I cannot emphasize enough how much inner peace I feel when I am lulled by her angelic voice.  If I am having a stressful day, I start-up her music and just listen.  It doesn’t take long before I feel a peaceful calmness that envelopes me.

A lot of us can learn a few things about how to look at life through the eyes of this very gifted child. It is like witnessing a beautiful flower in bloom. I am so thankful to God for giving us such a great gift in Jackie Evancho. To me it shows another depth of love that God our Father has for us because of what has been revealed.  Bless Jackie and her family for sharing this precious gift with all of us!

“And he said to them: Whoever will receive this child in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives him who sent me. For whoever is the lesser among you all, the same is greater.” – Luke 9:48

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