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Jackie Evancho Wows Hometown Crowd In Performance With Pittsburgh Opera

Actor Tom Cruise and former Steelers player Franco Harris join the crowd to hear her perform at the Benedum Center.

Jackie Evancho has performed at venues across the U.S. and abroad, but Sunday night was the 11-year-old's first major concert for the hometown fans in Pittsburgh. She wowed them.

Hundreds of fans started gathering outside of the Benedum Center hours in advance of her 5:30 p.m. sold-out performance with the 

Actor Tom Cruiseformer Steelers player Franco Harris, children in their Sunday best and fans still dressed in their Steelers-themed garb from Sunday afternoon's game filled the seats at the downtown theater.

The Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and Chorus performed four songs before Jackie came on stage in a red-and-white dress and performed “Lovers” from House of Flying Daggers.  

She continued with “Ombra Mai Fu” from Xerxes, “The Lord’s Prayer,” and “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha.

It was then that Jackie finally addressed her hometown.

“You guys have been a great audience. I’m so thankful to you—you have been great so far,” she said.

She then introduced To Believe,” a song written by her uncle, Matthew Evancho, and arranged by David Foster and Nicholas Dodd.

“This song means so much to me,” she said.

Jackie ended the first part of her performance with “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Gianni Schicchi before a 20-minute intermission.

The singer from Richland Township gained international stardom in the summer of 2010 when she was the runner-up on 

Her following has grown ever since.

Alex Moss, known as “Sempi Ternam” on Jackie’s Facebook page, came in for the concert from Columbia, SC, a drive of more than 600 miles. His name comes from the lyrics of the song “Pie Jesu.”

“This is my sixth Jackie concert and I am as excited as if it was the first,” said Moss a few hours prior to the concert.

Al and Rita Vento of Whitehall received tickets as a gift. The Ventos followed Jackie’s journey on America’s Got Talent and were excited to attend.

When asked if he was a fan prior to the concert, Al Vento said, “I think everyone in Pittsburgh is a fan.”

Although Al has season tickets to the Steelers, he gave those tickets to his grandsons so he could attend the concert with Rita.

“I could have gone to the game, but I would have been worried about missing part of the concert,” he said. “This was really worth it.”

Rita said after the first set of songs, “She is amazing. It is hard to believe that voice comes out of that little girl.”

After the break, several opera members of the chorus accompanied by the orchestra performed five songs. Juan Jose de Leon, a tenor who performed “O Sole Mio,” received a standing ovation.

When Jackie came back on stage dressed in a white layered dress, she performed “When You Wish Upon A Star” from Pinocchio followed by  “A Time for Us” from Romeo and Juliet, “Angel” and “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera.

While there were some fans like Moss, seated in the front row, who gave Jackie a standing ovation after every song, she also received a full-house standing ovation at the end of her performance.

“It meant so much to me to perform for my hometown, Pittsburgh,” said Jackie. “Without you all, I wouldn’t be here.”

To her great delight, the crowd gave her another standing ovation.

Chuck Yates October 17, 2011 at 05:11 AM
►► Excellent coverage, great photos. The concert was incredible. Thank you for your support.
Sempi Ternam October 17, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Thanks so much, Kathleen, for helping to make this extraordinary experience in Pittsburgh something that I "shall never, ever, forget."
Quentin Boyd October 18, 2011 at 01:15 AM
I guess you guys did OK for a home town crowd. But we appreciated her a lot more in Dallas! LOL. Thank you Pittsburgh for sharing your fantastic little angel with us. Appreciate what you have in this young girl. She may have started in Pittsburgh, but now she belongs to all of America. And soon she will belong to the world. Her current trip to Japan will begin that inevitable event. Though Canada and the UK have already personally experienced this amazing, talented and charming America's Child.
Joe Merkt October 18, 2011 at 11:55 PM
This was my first experience seeing Jackie live. I was entranced! She puts her whole heart and soul into her singing! It's incredible to watch and to hear. Her talent is so big and so amazing!
Terry Baker October 19, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Jackie's performance before her home-town fans was another important first in what has been an incredible year of milestones for our little superstar. She created a magical evening of pure joy, the memories of which I will treasure. Thank you Jackie, for sharing your gift, and thank you Pittsburgh, for supporting one of your own in such a grand manner. ~WW~
Dr.Fred Brown October 29, 2011 at 04:08 PM
AGAIN - Thank you for ALL of your excelent coverage of our Song Bird , Jackie Evancho. I check your 'paper' every day and enjoy all the articals. Keep up the good work following Jackie. May I sugest making a trip to Canada and interviewing her on location with Robert Redford and the movie set. You have 109,000 fans who would LOVE to see that.
everett cox November 26, 2011 at 05:57 AM
Don't know about the Scientologist, but Franco was stunned by what he heard. He got his picture taken with her too. My kind of man.
Catherine Novak December 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM
We attended this concert in 2011. The little schoolgirl floated onto the stage and right into our hearts. Her voice is beyond exquisite, and add to that her beauty, charm and grace which makes for a delightful stage presence. We have attended two more of her concerts since then and can hardly wait for the next. She is undoubtedly THE soprano of our time, and she just keeps getting better and better. There is no other who can compare.

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