Zealand music star wows kids at St. Raphael
Kari Allen Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2004
St. Raphael School students admitted Wednesday that Hayley
Westenra doesn't perform the type of music they usually listen
when the rising music star from New Zealand stepped up to
the microphone at the Naperville school and started singing,
the students fell silent and looked mesmerized.
voice is excellent," said eighth-grader Myssa Aker.
Katie Cooney and Erin Edwards predicted Westenra will make
it even bigger than she already has.
17, recently released her third album - and first to go international
- "Pure," which fuses everything from pop to classical
music. She recently performed on "Good Morning America"
and just started a Radio Disney School tour, through which
she performs for students.
part of the tour, Westenra performed several songs at St.
Raphael and fielded questions from curious fourth- through
eighth-graders. Students asked about everything from the types
of animals in New Zealand to details of Westenra's schooling
and her musical background.
told students she carries a laptop computer with her on tour
to e-mail work to her teacher and keep up with lessons. And,
she told students, she comes from a musical family.
answered questions with an easy smile, shying away from over-the-top
attention. In fact, she told students as her rendition of
"Amazing Grace" was played off her album, that it's
a bit embarrassing to listen to herself perform.
a very regular girl with no ego," said her manager, Steve
Abbott. "She's not like a lot of stars."
and Westenra's father, Gerald Westenra, watched her perform
Wednesday. Her dad recorded the whole event.
Westenra said he still gets goose bumps watching his daughter
in our wildest dreams did we ever think this would happen,"
he said of his daughter's success.
parents first became aware of Westenra's talent during a school
Christmas play in which she had a solo when she was 6. Her
teacher told the Westenras their daughter had perfect pitch.
there, Westenra learned to play the violin and piano and starred
in some school musicals. And she took singing lessons.
her reputation continues to grow, Westenra has plans for this
fall, when she'll make a guest appearance on NBC's "American
Dreams" and will perform an end-title song on Disney's
all her plans, Westenra said she's glad she's able to visit
schools as part of it all.
really enjoy this sort of thing, interacting with students,"
she said. "I hope I can inspire some of them to pursue
link thanks to Jon Voslo
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