Because of music class, world gets to hear Jackie Evancho
Required general music classes at the elementary level enabled the world to hear Jackie Evancho, says her fifth-grade teacher at Pine-Richland School District.
Teacher Steve Rickenback says that's typically where "extremely talented" students such as Jackie are discovered.
"You develop a part of the brain that otherwise wouldn't be developed," he said.
The 10-year-old classical crossover singer from Richland will perform as a semifinalist tonight on "America's Got Talent" after wowing judges Aug. 10. She's among 15 vocalists, dancers and magicians competing to advance to the top 10 acts, for an ultimate prize of $1 million and a headlining show in Las Vegas.
When Jackie was in the first or second grade, she asked to perform in front of the class. Rickenback wasn't prepared for what came next.
"It was different," he said about the little girl with a big voice.
Students at Eden Hall Upper Elementary will follow Jackie's journey through video clips of each week's performance.
"Kids usually don't get to hear about other kids (who are) into classical music," spokeswoman Rachel Hathhorn said. "It's neat that she's a young child picking that."
Classical music always entranced Jackie, said her uncle, Matt Evancho, 31, who is pursuing a doctorate in musical composition. He worked with her informally for two years.
"When we started, she had an understanding of music that is rare for her age," he said.
Matt Evancho was traveling with friends when Jackie stunned listeners with her first television performance three weeks ago. He stopped at a restaurant in Alabama to watch, and cheered her on with the wait staff.
"She's singing about experiences you'd think she's going through, but she couldn't have because she's only 10," he said.
In addition to her parents, two brothers and a sister, Jackie has six uncles, an aunt and eight cousins on her father's side -- all of whom are eager to see her succeed.
"Having a large family gives her a good foundation of support," said her grandfather, Bill Evancho of Richland. Yet, he said, "We want to keep Jackie as Jackie."
When phenomenal response to her first performance brought increased traffic on the family's cul-de-sac, her parents limited Jackie's homecoming party from Hollywood two weeks ago to a casual dinner with immediate family.
"It's a concern, but it'll be dealt with," Bill Evancho said. "We've mentioned increased security (to Jackie's parents)."
Family, friends and local musicians are watching to see what happens when she enters the music industry. Pittsburgh pop icon Johnny Angel -- who began his career as a teenager in the early 1960s -- said an "old-school" manager, Herman Lipp, shielded him and "kept a lot of the ugliness in the world away from us."
"There's a lot of snakes out there," said Angel, who toured with the Cordells as a teen and later opened for the Temptations, James Brown and the Four Tops.
The Internet aided Jackie's overnight popularity and provides great exposure for young artists, said Angel. He got a sneak peek of Jackie's talent as a judge and emcee for the annual Kean Idol competition in Richland. She performed twice in the amateur talent contest, earning first runner-up honors in 2008 and 2009, and sang at the 2010 Kean Idol Vocal Championship.
"I knew that somebody, someday was going to hear that girl," Angel said. "Now maybe she'll let me open up for her."Additional Information:
When to watch
Jackie Evancho of Richland will sing on 'America's Got Talent,' which airs from 9 to 11 tonight on NBC.
To learn who made the Top 10, watch at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Those acts will perform Sept. 7, and the final four will compete Sept. 14 for $1 million and a headlining Las Vegas show.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 7 in custody after New Kensington drug raid
- Tomlin: Possible Steelers midseason surge won’t come easy vs. Colts
- Pittsburgh police officer hurt in motorcycle crash
- Police seize phones of some Norwin High School students
- Twelve selected for jury in Ferrante trial
- Butler Township moves to block drilling in residential areas
- Pitt to play Notre Dame 5 times over next 11 seasons
- Rostraver woman victim of home invasion
- French oil CEO killed when private jet collides with snowplow during takeoff in Moscow
- Rookie Bryant sparks deep passing game for Steelers in victory
- Alleged abuse by Franciscan friar nets $8M for 88 former students