Ross girl sings national anthem at Pirates game
Little Jane Fusco used her “big Broadway voice” to salute her country before the Pirates vs. Phillies game on Wednesday.
Every inch of her 4-foot, 8-inch frame tingled as the 11-year-old faced the 33,197 announced-attendance crowd standing for the national anthem.
“I was nervous at the beginning,” said Jane, the daughter of Cindy and John Fusco of Ross Township, “but when I got to ‘the rocket's red glare,' the crowd cheered, and that gave me more power.”
But the Buccos' fans weren't done yet.
“When I sang ‘was still there,' they cheered really big then.”
Someone from the Pirates organization told her crowds usually don't cheer in the middle of the song. At the end of the anthem, they cheered again.
The young vocalist had plenty of time to practice since December's “Oh Say Can You Sing” competition held during PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
“We thought I wouldn't get very far,” Jane said. “I was up against grown-ups with very powerful voices.”
When she was named among the four winners in her session, she and her parents all were surprised.
“I thought ‘What just happened?'” she said, as they stood in stunned silence. “My parents and I didn't talk for awhile.”
All four winners had received perfect scores and the opportunity to sing before a hometown baseball crowd. Pirates Kent Tekulve, Michael McKenry and A.J. Burnett were the judges.
From hundreds of auditions, 30 vocalists were chosen to compete at PirateFest, said Chris Serkoch, director of special events for the Pirates organization and coordinator of the anthem events.
Serkoch also handles the many recordings vocalists send the team. More than 1,000 reach the Pirates during the season.
“I listen to several and then choose from the best,” Serkoch said, “but at PirateFest, the ‘Oh Say Can You Sing' contest is your best shot.”
Jane's years of classes with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Academy and participation in the North Star Kids performance troupe had done what they were supposed to: “They helped my stage presence and confidence.” The area's high school musicals also have given her inspiration.
Before the PNC Park performance, the rising sixth-grader at St. Teresa of Avila School in Ross practiced the song at least twice a day.
“I visualized myself standing there with everybody watching,” she said, intent on “using my nervous energy as power.”
She also got to practice with a microphone at the ballpark and heard her voice echoing all around. Jane took her time and focused, heeding her mother's advice: “Look at the flag, and think about what it means.”
The hourlong wait on the field on game day also helped quiet the butterflies. When the time came, she was more than eager to begin.
“I'd love to do it again,” she said. “I could do it over a million times and get that same rush of power and excitement.”
The 6-5 win for the hometown team was yet another highlight.
“I'm a big fan of the Pirates, and I'm grateful to them,” Jane said, “I'm just a normal, average girl, and this is changing my life a little bit.”
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Federal funds help cover cost of simulator for Richland firefighters
- Program in Pine to offer advice on living with celiac disease
- North Hills Sports Hall of Fame to add 5 alumni Sept. 10
- Hampton Fields Village resident celebrates 100th birthday with family, friends
- Cannon named director of Pittsburgh Boy Choir
- McCandless Community Day slated for Sept. 12
- Photo Gallery: North Hills Community Pep Rally
- Ride for Ryan to raise funds for beating victim in minimally conscious state
- Bradford Woods to celebrate its 100th anniversary
- Tavern Night planned at Depreciation Lands Museum in Hampton
- Expired, unwanted medications to be collected at Shaler North Hills Library