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Is singer the next Church?

By Bruce Fessier
The Desert Sun
February 9th, 2002

She speaks in this little voice with an unpretentious laugh and a heavy New Zealand dialect. But, when she opens her mouth to sing, this glorious voice comes out, making one wonder, “Where did that come from?”

Hayley Westenra has already been called “the next Charlotte Church” in her native country, which also produced opera diva Kira de Kanawa.

And while performers usually fail to live up to their hype, it should be worth hearing Westernra sing at the McCallum Theatre tonight if she’s half as good as McCallum officials say she is.

Westenra, 15, will mix light classics with the pop of Broadway composers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber. That may not be the type of material young listeners are clamoring for, but having a teenager interpret that type of music gives it an accessibility to teens that older performers often can’t provide.

The McCallum is meeting its mission of expanding the audience for our culture by having a young proponent give us her take on it. Tickets: 340-ARTS

Bruce Fessier is the people/entertainment editor for The Desert Sun. He can be reached at (760) 778-4622 or via e-mail at Bruce.Fessier@thedesertsun.com.
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