When Jackie Evancho sings about dreaming the impossible dream, it makes you wonder:
What dream is impossible for this 11-year-old?
Performing Tuesday before a packed Benedum Center, the soprano prodigy from Richland Township performed songs from her hit CDs, Dream With Me and Heavenly Christmas, along with other selections, to a crowd that often rose to its feet.
Jackie was accompanied by the Benedum Center Orchestra, which started the show with the Overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia. Robert Tweten conducted.
At the end of the orchestral piece, Jackie took the stage with no fanfare. She simply walked out from the left wing and up to the microphone to sing "All I Ask of You" from The Phantom of the Opera with her soaring clear-as-a-bell voice.
"I am very happy to be back in my hometown," she told the crowd.
Even though she has sung at venues around the world after gaining fame through her America's Got Talent appearances, Jackie still creates a sense of awe. It simply does not seem natural for a voice that big to come from a little girl with poise that is way beyond her years.
She shared the stage with tenor Christopher Dallo, who sang solos and a duet with Jackie.
Among the songs she sang in the first half of the show were "The Impossible Dream," "The Lord's Prayer," "A Time for Us" and "Angel.
The second half of the show was dedicated to holiday music, starting with the orchestra playing three dances from "The Nutcracker."
Jackie sang "The First Noel," "Believe" from the Polar Express, "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "O Holy Night."
Her duet with Dallo on "The Prayer" brought the entire house to its feet.
Jackie thanked the conductor and the orchestra "for making me look good." Then with a giggle, she thanked the audience "for supporting and guiding me and helping me."
Although she started the show with lyrics telling of a quest "to reach the unreachable star" in "The Impossible Dream," the end of the show was more telling of her life.
In her final encore, she sang"When You Wish Upon A Star," which ends, of course, with the words:
Your dreams come true.