A magical evening with Jackie and The Dayton Philharmonic

scan0001After a long year since the last time I had the opportunity to see Jackie Evancho perform live again, I finally was able to attend her concert this past Saturday in Dayton, Ohio.  Jackie performed two nights (Friday – 4/27/18, and Saturday – 4/28/18).  I was not able to attend on Friday, but managed to attend the Saturday concert, and oh what a concert it was!

I had purchased tickets for this concert almost 6 months ago, without knowing for sure if my wife and I could attend.  Our schedules have been very packed lately and it would be uncertain if we could break away from the demands of everyday life in order to attend.   Since this concert was only a three hour drive from home, it made the decision a bit easier to go for it.  We decided to spend the night at a hotel on the night of the concert to avoid having to drive back home that night after the concert.

When the day of the concert arrived, the anticipation and excitement of going to see Jackie suddenly was upon us.  The weather that day was unseasonably cool for this time of year.  We had been experiencing unusually cold, wet, and snowy weather in April this year.  In spite of a dismal weather forecast, the weather was better than expected.  Although the temperature stayed in the low 50s, the forecast of rain held off.  We arrived at our hotel around 3:30 pm.  That gave us plenty of time to settle in, freshen up and get to dinner before the 8:00 pm concert.  As I checked us in at the hotel front desk, the clerk asked me what brought us to Dayton.  I told him that my wife and I were coming to see Jackie Evancho perform at the Schuster Center with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.  The clerk then brightened up and said that he just saw Jackie perform last night and that it was absolutely fabulous!  It was great to hear that and it just increased the excitement even more.

We departed the hotel around 5:30 pm since I had booked dinner reservations at Citilites restaurant at 6:15 pm.  The restaurant was conveniently located inside the same building as the performance hall, so it seemed like a good option for dinner.  The parking deck where we parked was right across from the performance hall.  After we parked and started walking to the hall, they were playing Jackie’s music over the loudspeakers in the parking deck.  That was a surprise in itself.  I don’t believe I had ever been to a Jackie concert where her music was being played in the parking deck.  It brought a smile to my face.  I was also very pleased to see that there were plenty of promotional pictures of Jackie all around the hall and in the parking deck.  It didn’t take long to notice that The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance put a lot of dedication into the promotion of these concerts with Jackie and the Dayton Philharmonic.  As my wife and I walked into the Schuster center, the place looked very impressive.

We found the Citilites restaurant inside the building and were soon seated at our table.   It had become traditional for many die-hard Jackie Evancho fans to get together for dinner before a concert, but due to communications break-downs, there was no formal fan gathering planned.  However, it soon became obvious that many familiar fans that I have met in the past decided that Citilites was also where they would dine before the concert.  So, in-a-sense we still had a fan-gathering of sorts.   Great minds think alike!  It was nice catching up with some people whom I haven’t seen in over a year.  The dinner, the camaraderie, and the atmosphere was great!

Before we knew it, concert time was approaching.  We proceeded to our seats.  I had purchased tickets for my preferred place to sit for a Jackie concert – 4th row, just slightly left of center stage.  I’ve always felt that this is a great vantage point to see Jackie, although she always makes every attempt to walk along the width of the stage so that everyone can get a chance to see her.  In all the years that I have attended Jackie concerts, she has always commanded a remarkable stage presence even in her very younger years.  Now that she is 18, her composure on stage is much more mature and reserved than when she was younger, but she still has that grace and charm about her that her fans have come to know and love.

The stage looked elegant and classy.  The orchestra members were doing typical warm-ups on stage as people moved towards their seats.  The Dayton Philharmonic took up a large portion of the stage.  There was a complete contingency of orchestral instrumentation.  I could tell this was going to be a special night, since it had become rare to see Jackie perform with a full orchestra these past few years as opposed to when she was first doing shows right after her debut on America’s Got Talent in 2010.

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Soon the show would begin after the concert-master came out in typical tradition to tune the orchestra.  The conductor Neal Gittleman would take the baton and lead the orchestra as opposed to Jackie’s usual music director Peter Kiesewalter.  Maestro  Gittleman did a wonderful job establishing a rapport with the audience right from the get-go.  He seemed to be very genuine with his admiration for Jackie and the opportunity to perform with her.   He indicated that Jackie wanted the orchestra to have the opportunity to perform some pieces on their own as well as have her sing with them.  Thus, the orchestra opened the show and played a couple of additional pieces in each half.  At first I wondered how well Jackie would mesh with a conductor that she hadn’t worked with before, but after Jackie performed her first song titled “Lovers” it didn’t take long to realize that Jackie, Maestro Gittleman and the orchestra were going to be working well together.  There wasn’t as much over-amplification used for this performance outside of Jackie’s microphone and maybe some slight orchestral amplification.  It wasn’t needed as there was plenty of sound to fill the hall, which had splendid acoustics.  The format of the show was primarily focusing on Jackie’s earlier music, being more on the classical side.  Jackie performed several songs from her Dream With Me and Songs From the Silver Screen albums.  However, Jackie did perform two songs (“How Great Thou Art”, and “The Way We Were”) from her latest CD titled “Two Hearts.”  Although there was a printed program with this concert, the set-list wasn’t in it.  I wasn’t able to remember the entire set-list, but perhaps someone who wrote it down can share it here.

Here is Jackie’s page inside the printed program:

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The format of the show seemed to follow a pattern of Jackie singing about 4 songs, then yielding to the orchestra to play a piece, and then having Jackie sing 4 songs to close out each half.  One of the standout songs that got everyone jumping to their feet after it was over was when Jackie sang “How Great Thou Art”  She sounded magnificent singing this song and I think it was perhaps the best performance of the night.  Jackie also received standing ovations for Music Of The Night and Nessun Dorma, which closed out the program.  After thunderous applause at the end of the regular program, Jackie came out to do an encore of “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Throughout the entire concert Jackie sang incredible!  She seemed a little nervous at the very beginning, but it only took a few measures of the first song before she settled-in to her musical comfort zone.  I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly poised Jackie is on stage.  She has a stage-presence that is just mesmerizing.  There were a couple of brief moments when she looked over at me and I could feel the eye-contact as if she were singing right to me!  She has a way of drawing in her audience like no other performing artist that I have ever seen.  She makes you feel appreciated for being there to see her perform.  It is quite special!

Once the show was over, I left with that usual euphoric feeling of music bliss.  Jackie touched my heart once again with her amazing voice and personal charm.  I am grateful that I was able to  have that experience with her.  It is hard to say when I will be able to see Jackie perform again, but I will always cherish each and every opportunity that I have to see her perform live.

God bless you Jackie and thank you for sharing your gift!

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A new “Awakening” has begun

0a58a-10494853_10201201010827628_2705648538131479816_n255b1255dJackie Evancho has just released her 6th CD titled “Awakening.”  I had the privilege of receiving my copy of the CD a little over a week before the September 23rd release date.  I had pre-ordered my copy of the CD from Jackie Evancho’s website when the CD release date was announced.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received the e-mail notification that my CD had shipped and would arrive by September 15th.  Turns out, the shipping of the CD was more timely than the shipping tracking-number had indicated.  Instead of receiving the CD on the 15th, I actually received it on the 12th.  Needless to say, I was very excited that this highly anticipated CD was now in my possession.  I couldn’t wait to play it.

Keep in mind, that I had heard the songs on “Awakening” when I attended the Longwood Gardens live PBS filming back on August 21st.  However, after the concert, the only way I could hear the music again was in my mind.  I would have to wait for the CD in order to listen to the music again.  As of September 12th, the wait was over.

Once I started listening to the CD, I was immediately transported back to Longwood.  The memories of the emotions that swept over me the first time I heard this music all came back to life once again.  This time though, I could listen to the music as often as I wanted, and believe me…, I am listening often!

When listening to Awakening I would suggest using a good quality audio system to get the full impact of all the lush accompaniment that is combined with Jackie’s exquisite vocals.  Jackie’s voice has a very pure and rounded sound that is magnificently complimented by the orchestral and electronic accompaniment that is part of each track.  Both Jackie and the accompaniments combine for a truly breathtaking listening experience.  Awakening is of the utmost quality and is definitely worth purchasing.  I would even go so far as to say it is probably the best album that Jackie Evancho has put out, and that is saying a lot considering how high the bar was raised with her previous albums.

My overall impression of the CD is that it is masterfully done.  The quality of the audio, the orchestration, and of course Jackie’s singing are superb!  You can tell that a lot of work went into its production.  One key point is that the Awakening CD was NOT produced using Auto-Tune –  meaning that what you hear on the CD is Jackie’s pure voice unaltered by digital tuning to correct for pitch, which is commonly used in the music recording industry.  Keeping that in mind, if someone was unaware that auto-tune wasn’t used, you would never suspect it because Jackie’s pitches are spot on target.

Looking beyond the technical aspects of the CD, I cannot help but write about the emotional impact that this music has on me.  Jackie’s music on her previous CDs has had a reputation of causing grown adults to shed tears (myself included) because it can have such an emotional impact (Sometimes referred to as “The Jackie Effect”).  I find myself almost unexpectedly getting misty-eyed without warning at random times when I listen to various songs.  Each song has a way of touching on various emotions that lie within me that get “awakened” when I hear certain lyrics or melodies that trigger these reactions.  The emotional tug is overwhelming at times and it causes me at times to let out a big sigh after hearing a song – almost as if my breath has literally been taken away.  Jackie’s music is not something I just listen to, it is something that I experience on a personal and emotional level.  That should be what music does to a person.  It should be more than just listening to a catchy tune that sounds appealing; It should take hold of us, causing moments to pause and reflect on how it affects us on a personal level.  I believe that Awakening does that!  I find myself yearning to hear it again and again, almost as if it touches a part of my soul that needs it – sort of like a warm security blanket on a cold winter night.  No other singer has ever had this type of impact on me before.  I wrestle with it at times, wondering why… why does Jackie’s music do this to me?  I thought maybe Awakening wouldn’t have this effect on me and yet there it is again – that indescribable feeling of knowing that there is something good that is coming out of Jackie.  Because of my faith, I know that it is the presence of God answering Jackie’s prayers to lovingly sing with her because she has asked Him to do so.

At this time I will give my impressions for each song on the CD.  I know that everyone has different musical tastes and I am sure that my impressions of each song may not be the same as what others may think.  All of the songs on the CD are very appealing to me, but I will admit that I do have some favorites that I prefer.  I will not attempt to order the songs by preference because my favorites change quite often each time I listen to the CD.  Instead, I will list them in the order that they appear on the CD along with my personal impressions of each song.

Think of Me (from The Phantom of the Opera)  – This song was released as a single before the Awakening CD was released.  It has been promoted quite a bit and even has a music video associated with it..  Jackie Evancho has always tried to feature a song from “Phantom of the Opera” on each of her CDs because the musical contains many of her favorite songs and is the influence behind why she started singing.  Jackie is tremendous on this track and the cadenza that she does at the end is a fabulous climax to the piece.

Your Love (from Once Upon a Time in the West) – One of my favorite songs on the CD.  The song itself is hauntingly beautiful.  Jackie has an astonishing way of incorporating her soothing voice to the demanding range that is required to sing this song.  I find myself getting misty-eyed many times when I hear it.  The emotional tug of the music can be overwhelming at times!   Although the lyrics are somewhat of a love song, I’ve thought that they could also be interpreted as expressing one’s love of God too.  Perhaps that is why it affects me in such an emotional way.

Je t’aime (from Pure) – When I saw the track list before I received the CD, this song is one that I wasn’t very excited about until I heard Jackie’s version of it (Jackie has a way of doing that to me).  Although the English translation of the French lyrics are a bit odd, I find myself liking this song a lot because it is so masterfully done.  The rich accompaniment coupled with Jackie’s outstanding way she sings in French is very impressive.  I would have to say that this song ranks as one of my top favorites on the CD.

Take Me There – An original song that was specifically written for Jackie Evancho by Johan Oberholzer. The song has an upbeat accompaniment that has somewhat of a Pop sound to it.  The song starts out slow and eventually builds to a moving beat that rhythmically pulses with Jackie’s exquisitely smooth vocals.  This is one song that I would hope would be a candidate for radio air-play on a Soft Rock or Pop station.

Open Fields of Grace – This song has hints of a Scottish or Irish ballad.  It has a certain graceful feel to it (as is indicated by the title).  The song has a deep meaning of longing to be with a lost loved-one who has passed from this world into the “Open Fields of Grace.”  Some would label this song as a “dirge” but I feel that term doesn’t give this song justice.  Instead, I would refer to it as a spiritual walk in paradise when our time on this world has passed to the next, leaving behind all of our suffering and troubles.

Ave Maria  (attributed to Giulio Caccini, music by Vladimir Vavilov) – I admire this song choice for the CD because of my faith.    It is one of my top favorites on the CD.  The song is  heavenly not only for the Blessed Virgin Mother for whom the song is titled, but for the beautiful way that Jackie sings it.

Memories (from The Silent Force) – This song has somewhat of a Celtic sound to it at times.  It has a flowing rhythmic beat to it.  The song somewhat reminds me of  the style of music that is commonly sung by Sarah Brightman, although it was originally sung by the Dutch symphonic metal/rock band Within Temptation.  Jackie does a marvelous rendition of this song and stays true to the original style of the song.

The Rains of Castamere (from Game of Thrones) – I will admit that I am somewhat unfamiliar with the TV show “Game of Thrones” in which the song is associated.  It is my understanding that this is a very popular TV series on HBO.  I sense some varied deep emotions in this song.   It starts out with a mysterious overtone – sort of like it is pulling you in and you cannot resist its spell.  Next, there is a sense of sadness to the music – such as if it is a portraying a tragedy of sorts.  Then, there are glimpses of hope, that are countered by the shadows of distress.  This is how I hear the story that the music conveys to me.  If I were to just read the lyrics I wouldn’t have those emotional connections.  To me, that is the true essence of a good quality musical performance – something that touches me deeply where I am emotionally mesmerized with what I am hearing.  THAT is what I get from Jackie’s voice.  Her voice is so pure, it is almost scary as to how much it reaches into my soul.  It is quite bewildering to say the least!

Dormi Jesu – One of my favorite songs on the CD being more on the classical side.  It is sung in Latin.  I believe this particular song highly showcases Jackie’s musical talent.  She sings the song so fluently with gorgeous nuances in vocal and lyrical interpretation.  If I were to “show off” Jackie to my friends, I would probably start with this piece.

Vocalise (from “Fourteen Songs”, Op. 34 – Sergei Rachmaninoff ) – For those unfamiliar with this song or the title it is a term for a song without lyrics.  One might think that a song without lyrics should be easy, but this song is far from easy.  Clearly this has to be one of the most difficult and challenging pieces for Jackie to sing.    When I hear this song I am amazed at the difficulty level that would be required to sing it.  The scoring of the orchestral accompaniment must present many challenges for a singer to find reference pitches for all of the complex interval changes that occur within the music.  It really is astonishing how well Jackie (who was 13 at the time of the recording) was able to absolutely nail this song like a seasoned adult pro with years of vocal experience.  It shows just how much Jackie has matured and grown as a musician.

With or Without You (from The Joshua Tree, music by U2) –  A song originally made famous by the rock band U2.  Although Jackie does a wonderful job singing this song and that she has indicated that it is one of her favorites to sing, I will admit that I am not as emotionally connected to this song as some of the others.  It isn’t that I don’t care for the song, I just don’t feel like it showcases Jackie’s talents as well as the other songs on the CD.  A lot of it probably boils down to personal taste.  I have heard some fans say that it is at the top of their favorites list.  If you are more inclined to lean more on the Pop side of Classical Crossover (CC) music, then this song will likely appeal to you as well.  I tend to lean more towards the classical side of the CC genre.

Made to Dream (music and lyrics by Jean-Pierre Steyn) – An original song written specifically for Jackie.  The lyrics to this song seem like they tell Jackie’s story.  I usually pay more attention to the music than the lyrics of songs (it’s how I’m wired), but in the case of Made To Dream, the lyrics are almost as if Jackie is revealing her inner-self.  Jackie has conveyed her ambition of living out her dream to sing for the enjoyment of others.  This song tenderly conveys the fruition of her dreams taking flight and that she was made to dream.  Perhaps that is how Jackie is wired.

In conclusion:

Jackie has referred to the title of her Awakening CD as a reflection of her “awakening” as an artist and person.  I believe that she certainly has done that.  Although Jackie’s prior CDs are outstanding, it is clear that her new CD is indeed a reflection of Jackie taking her artistic talents to a whole new level.  I encourage anyone reading this blog to get yourself a copy of this CD and hear it for yourself, for my words in this blog cannot possibly give this music the justice that it deserves.

Awakening is now available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon, as well as other retail stores.

Note that a bonus Christmas CD with Awakening is also available exclusively at Wal-Mart.  Stay tuned to this blog for an addendum to this review when we get closer to the Christmas season.

Finally, here are some video clips to whet your appetite for Awakening:

To view more of my favorite Jackie Evancho videos, check out my YouTube playlist.

Keep in mind that I am NOT a paid promoter of Jackie Evancho..  The opinions expressed in this review are my own personal thoughts and expressions regarding Jackie and her music.  I have made every attempt to post accurate information whenever possible.

Artistry of The Songs From The Silver Screen

4z3nC[1]Jackie Evancho fans have long been anticipating the release of Jackie’s next CD titled Songs From The Silver Screen (SFTSS).  On October 2nd, 2012, the CD was officially released.  Prior to the CD release date, many fans, including myself have had a chance to hear the songs performed on this CD by listening to  Jackie Evancho sing them on her second PBS Great Performances special titled Music Of The Movies (MOTM).  This performance is also made available to watch on DVD.  I received my copy of the DVD in mid-September through a pledge to PBS.  Although the DVD and CD have different titles, the musical selections are the same.  However, there are differences in these two similar, yet distinctively unique recordings.  First of all, let me say that MOTM is a splendid DVD.  When watching Jackie perform, it is apparent how much more advanced Jackie has become in her singing style and her stage presence.  She was already blowing away people (like me) with her vocal skills when she recorded her first full-length album titled Dream With Me.  But now, Jackie is another year older and another year advanced in singing artistry.  Her incredible vocal skills, stage presence, confidence, and love of performing are very apparent in the MOTM DVD.  Watching Jackie perform gives you a sense of how amazing someone so small and petite can sing with such grace and fullness to her voice.  She warms the hearts of her audience as they exuberantly respond to her charming demeanor and mastery of the music that she sings – a common occurrence at any Jackie Evancho concert.

I thought that I had settled in on my impressions of the MOTM DVD and was expecting about the same experience with the release of The Songs From The Silver Screen (SFTSS) CD.  When the release of the CD finally arrived, I was surprised at the various differences that I would experience.  First of all, let me say that the MOTM DVD is wonderful, but I must say that the SFTSS CD is much better and takes the quality level up even higher than the DVD.  The comparison may be a bit unfair in that the MOTM DVD was recorded live vs. the CD being a studio recording that has all the advantages of mixing, editing, and refining.  After seeing Jackie perform live, I can say that her voice doesn’t require editing or refining, but nonetheless the process does help to improve the audio quality of the recording itself.

This blog entry will primarily be focused on reviewing the SFTSS CD with some references to the MOTM DVD – pointing out the subtle differences that I  have  picked up between the two media as well as my overall opinion of each piece.  Let me start out by saying that the audio quality, mixing, balance, and overall production of SFTSS are tremendous!  It is quite apparent that a lot of hard work went into this CD and it definitely shows.  It is obvious that Jackie attracts quality producers because she is so good at what she does.  The emotion that Jackie draws out of the music is unbelievable for someone who is only 12 years-old.  She has a gentle and yet powerful vocal quality that is smooth, refined, and velvety.  Some of the songs recorded on this CD by title alone may seem lackluster, but you have to realize that they are being performed by no ordinary singer.  Jackie has this way of taking a mundane song and turning it into a work of art.  She does this with many of the songs on this CD – transforming them into artistic masterpieces.  The balance between orchestral accompaniment and Jackie’s voice combine to form a listening experience that is truly breathtaking.  Upon first hearing the SFTSS audio tracks, I felt goose bumps from the sheer emotional fluidity that comes from this music.

Keep in mind, this CD stays true to Jackie’s Classical Crossover music style incorporating elements of pop music with classical sounding stylistic texture.  This opens up the music to audiences who can appreciate light-sounding classical music as well as those who may be more attracted to pop music.  Listeners from different age-groups should find a song on this CD that they are familiar with from a wide range of movie periods ranging from early 20th century films all the way to movies released as late as 2010.

I will try to illustrate my impressions of each of the 12 songs by dividing up the music into my top five picks followed by my remaining top picks.  I cannot say that there are any bottom picks.  As far as I am concerned, all the songs are worthy of being on top, however I do have five favorites so I will start with them.

  1. Se – From the movie Cinema Paradiso.  For me, this song is classic Jackie and has a singing style that initially attracted me to become a fan last year.  Although this song is not a classical piece per se’, it is sung with a somewhat classical style in a foreign language, which showcases just how good Jackie is at her craft.  It is mind-boggling how she can sing in Italian (or any other language) just as effortlessly as she sings in English.  This is where Jackie’s singing skills truly shine.
  2. Come What May – In this song, Jackie sings in collaboration with The Tenors (formerly known as The Canadian Tenors) who sing in tandem with Jackie.  Jackie and The Tenors blend together beautifully in this piece, and the melodic harmonies of the music sends shivers all over when I hear it.   One distinction between the recording of this piece on MOTM vs. SFTSS is that on MOTM, only three of the four tenors were available for the performance.  The amazing part of this is that Jackie sang some of the missing fourth tenor part at times when she was not singing her own part.  It just goes to show how diverse Jackie can be.
  3. What A Wonderful World – When I first heard that Jackie would be doing this song, I thought that people would be too accustomed to Louis Armstrong’s version of this song.  However, now that I have heard Jackie sing it, I believe the torch has been passed and now Jackie owns it.  The smooth flowing style that she puts on this piece gives the music a marvelous tenderness that tugs at your heart and puts you into a complete state of tranquility.   
  4. Reflection – Jackie has dedicated this song to her mother – Lisa Evancho.  Lisa, and Jackie’s father Mike have devoted themselves to helping Jackie live out her dream of having a singing career.  This piece is a lovely rendition of the song from the movie Mulan.  Knowing that Jackie specifically dedicated this song to her mother makes it very meaningful and draws me in to listen intently to the lyrics and the beautiful melody that goes with them.  Truly a wonderful rendition of this song.
  5. Music Of The Night – Jackie has pointed out in her introduction of this piece on the MOTM DVD that this song is very special to her, because it is the first song that she started singing around the house after she saw the movie “Phantom Of The Opera.”  Her mother recognized something special in Jackie’s voice, which would lead to where Jackie is today.  Although this song is sung by the phantom in the movie, Jackie wanted to sing it because she likes it.  All I can say is I am glad she likes it and chose to sing it on this CD.  It is a wonderful rendition and Jackie does this song tremendous justice.  The last note that she holds on this piece seems impossible for someone her age to hold for so long, yet she does it brilliantly while putting in just the right amount of vibrato in perfect pitch as the song fades to end.

Moving forward from my top five picks, the remaining songs on my list are equally wonderful and are almost impossible to rank in any particular order, so I will just list them and post my impressions.

  • Some Enchanted Evening – I have always loved the music from South Pacific.  This piece in particular is one of my favorites from the movie / musical.  Jackie sings this song with a smoothness that just melts me into musical bliss. 
  • My Heart Will Go On – When I first heard that Jackie would be doing this song, I had some reservations because Celine Dion had established herself quite firmly with this song from the movie Titanic.  Then, along comes Jackie, and once again she puts her own personal touch on this song and gives it another life, not competing with Celine, but establishing it apart as its own unique style.  Whereas Celine sings the song with power and passion, Jackie sings it with tenderness and grace.  Some minor differences between the MOTM DVD and SFTSS CD include a different violin soloist (Caroline Campbell for MOTM, and Joshua Bell for SFTSS), and additional supporting background vocal effects for the SFTSS CD that are absent on the MOTM DVD.
  • I See The Light – This song offers a very unique experience.  It gives the listener a chance to hear Jackie sing a duet with her brother Jacob.  Turns out, that Jacob Evancho is a pretty good singer.  I will say that the charm of this duet comes from watching it while hearing it.  This is where I believe the MOTM DVD gives the best experience for this song.  You get to see Jackie and Jacob sing and interact with each other, showing that their sibling relationship is very special.  
  • When I Fall In Love – Can a 12 year-old girl sing about falling in love and the feelings one would experience when that moment occurs?  When it comes to Jackie…, absolutely!  The reason is because when Jackie sings she is no longer a 12 year-old girl, she is story-teller, singing as though she is part of the song for the listener to get in touch with feelings of love and romance in whatever manner they may choose to apply to their own lives.
  • The Summer Knows – There are very distinct differences between the MOTM recording of this song and the recording on SFTSS.   Two different trumpet players were featured in the accompaniment with Jackie – each with stylistically distinctive differences.  On MOTM, the trumpet soloist is Jumaane Smith who plays with a slightly sultry flair.  On SFTSS, the trumpet soloist is Chris Botti who plays with more of a smooth and mellow style.   Each trumpet soloist compliments Jackie very well, but I tend to lean towards the SFTSS recording because it just sounds so smooth and allows Jackie’s voice to stand out much better.  The studio mixing may have had a lot to do with this as well.
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Originally sung by Sir Elton John, Jackie takes a leap of faith in singing this song in the shadow of another great performer.  But, as I have come to realize, Jackie has the distinct ability to give a song like this her own personal touch.  There is a subtle difference in the song performed on MOTM vs. SFTSS.  In SFTSS, Jackie takes the last note of the piece up a 5th, which adds a bit of a pleasant surprise to the ending, as opposed to staying on the tonic as was done for the MOTM recording.  I actually prefer the SFTSS version of this song because of better audio quality and the surprise ending.  One additional note…, because I am a clarinet player, I get an extra treat to hear a beautiful clarinet solo at the start of this piece.
  • Pure Imagination – This song is associated with the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie and was originally sung by Gene Wilder playing the part of Willie Wonka.  How do you take a ho-hum song and turn it into an artistic masterpiece?  You let Jackie Evancho sing it.  That is exactly what occurs when Jackie sings this song.   Amazing how such a simple song can suddenly transform into a work of art.

I hope that anyone who reads this review finds it helpful.  If you are a fan of Jackie Evancho, I am sure you know all-too-well the sentiments that I have conveyed in this post.  If you haven’t heard of Jackie Evancho before, I suggest you look her up on YouTube and get yourself a copy of any of her CDs, including Songs From The Silver Screen.  I know you won’t be disappointed, and if you become like most fans of Jackie you will soon find yourself wanting more.

You can purchase a copy of this CD online or at your local Target retail outlets:
If you would like to listen to the tracks on-line, check out the link below, but please purchase the CD if you like what you hear so that Jackie is supported and can continue her great work:

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