I am so proud of this girl! :) Way to go, Kaitlyn! On July 23rd, Kaitlyn came to her lesson as usual and insisted I look up a song on youtube. Carrie Underwood wrote a song called, “All American Girl” a couple of years ago – and I was delighted to be introduced to it. Here is the song Kaitlyn showed me… All American Girl.
Later in August, Kaitlyn would go on to sing that song with Carrie Underwood through an arrangement with Make a Wish Foundation, in front of a sold-out audience showing of 15,000 people. When she was 3, she had a liver transplant in her fight against cancer. She has been in remission ever since, and loves to sing, sing, sing! Make a Wish granted her a wish, but her family decided to wait until the wish could be more meaningful, memorable, and lasting. She is very energetic, full of life, and loves her family very much. Ask questions here if you’d like to hear or read what Kaitlyn thought of the experience (and please check back often for updates). :)
On September 3rd, she returned for her 1st lesson since the once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here’s some of what I shared with teacher friends (I added/changed a little to this on September 13th)…
My piano and voice student, Kaitlyn, sang with Carrie Underwood at the end of this summer. Today was her first lesson back since before the concert. We had a great lesson, she was super motivated, and she wore part of her outfit. It was just a wonderful time hearing all about it, as we immersed ourselves yet again in piano and voice lessons. I’ll write a blog post on my site after I have had a chance to talk more with her about her wonderful day.
What questions would you ask of a 10 year old?
A few I have in mind…
1. What advice would you give other singers your age?
2. How did you overcome your anxiety over performing?
3. What things helped you prepare most for this experience?
She and her mom mentioned that it was an extremely loud outdoor venue. My guess is that while Carrie had an inner ear monitor, Kaitlyn did not, and couldn’t hear herself singing. She tends to, in this video, shout-sing (completely normal under the circumstances!). But I couldn’t be more proud of her! Her cousin took the video.
When I post the blog post, I’ll post again here, and would consider it wonderful for her if you could write something to her here. She is wonderful student with an extremely supportive family. She was super nervous leading up to the performance, we rehearsed possible scenarios and how to adjust to how Carrie was going to carry herself in the performance. I am very proud of her, and thankful everything went smoothly.
Here are two photos from recitals (1st one = Kaitlyn & Kristin playing a piano duet) (2nd one = Kaitlyn is wearing the bright blue dress in the 2nd row, photo courtesy of Hilary Schaffner)…
QUESTIONS FOR KAITLYN (from her teacher & the readers) :) I will update with Kaitlyn’s answers (italic) as she responds.
1. Please tell us, in your own words, what you did in August (concert, singing with Carrie, Make a Wish Foundation as a result of being a cancer survivor as a toddler). How come you waited until now to fulfill your Make a Wish? Are you glad you waited?
Answered 9/10/13 = My family encouraged me to wait because I wanted a waterfall and a unicorn. I’m glad and am happy I waited.
2. How did the process go, for getting the approval for this to happen, with Make a Wish Foundation? What did they have to coordinate to make it happen? How did Carrie Underwood react when approached by Make a Wish? Do you know if she has ever had this happen before?
Answered 9/10/13 = It went well. Mom contacted MAW (Make a Wish) and a couple days later MAW came to the house and brought Hershey’s chocolates. MAW contacted Carrie’s agent and Carrie agreed. She said, “Hi Kaitlyn, I’m happy to meet you.” Carrie was interested in doing it with me. I had to sing for MAW first, as an audition.
3. How would you describe your feelings leading up to, during, and after singing with Carrie?
Answered 9/10/13 = During (scary), way before (on the way = got a limo… mom, MAW gal, dad). The limo driver was nice, but I can’t remember his name right now. It didn’t feel real at first, just like a dream… just like seeing other famous people and celebrities. After (really, really x 10 tired = slept in the limo after the concert. Limo broke down, and got a brand new limo with stars on the ceiling).
4. Would you do it again if you could? Why?
Answered 9/10/13 = I would definitely do it again. I loved it.
5. What kind of songs do you like to sing at home?
Answered 9/10/13 = I like to sing other Carrie Underwood songs. Blown Away, All American Girl, Two Black Cadillacs.
6. What other things did you get to do or experience as part of the package arrangement with Make a Wish and singing with Carrie? (You mentioned a limo and a pass to access any area of the concert venue)
7. What were your interactions like with Carrie? What were your impressions of her in person? Were they what you expected of her? In what ways did she, personally, make this special for you?
8. Do you feel this experience was motivating or not? In what way?
9. If you could tell Carrie Underwood something, what would you tell her?
10. Your mom had a giant part in making this happen… would you like to tell your mom anything?
11. What are your top 3 favorite Carrie Underwood songs?
12. Did you get a choice in picking the song you sang with her? If not, how did the process go? And, did you rehearse with Carrie & her band?
13. What were your experiences like backstage? Who was with you? Who came with you to the concert?
14. How many people were in the audience? Do you feel it is easier to perform with a large group or small group? Does it make a difference who you perform with?
15. How did you handle the transition from the hype of singing with Carrie, to returning to normal life? What kinds of things do you do daily that make you happy?
16. What are your music plans/goals now? What music instruments do you or have you played? What are your favorite songs on those instruments?
17. Do you have any photos of your experience, that you’d be willing to share in this article?
18. What advice would you give for other girls your age who have a similar dream, or who have fought or are fighting cancer or other serious illnesses?
Here is a video her family posted on YouTube…
I posted on facebook about it…
Some people posted on twitter about it…
— Froggy 103.7 (@froggy1037) August 20, 2013
— Country Weekly (@countryweekly) August 19, 2013
Other Articles about the Experience…
Please visit http://wish.org/ to learn more about “Make a Wish America”, and if you’re interested in donating, please be sure to include the name of someone special to you (who has either overcome that illness, or who may be fighting it, or perhaps even in loving memory) – and share with us here who you are honoring. We would love to hear about it.
Photo Credits = Family of Kaitlyn Finn & AP Photo/Albany Democrat-Herald, Mark Ylen