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Inver Grove Heights 7-year-old sings 'Let It Go' beyond her years at state fair
Local sisters won first, second at Dakota County singing competition
Seven-year-old Montana Jaeger of Inver Grove Heights says she doesn't really get scared or nervous, just nervous-excited performing in front of large crowds.
And the audience of several hundred people, including her singing sister Cosette, 9, who cheered her on while she sang "Let It Go" from Disney's "Frozen" at the Minnesota State Fair Aug. 23 wasn't even the biggest crowd she's encountered while belting out notes that even Idina Menzel can't always hit (read: the Broadway star's 2014 Oscar performance of the same song).
Montana auditioned to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a St. Paul Saints game this spring, and was selected.
The shortest person on the field by several feet, Montana sailed from "Oh say can you see" to "the home of the brave" in fine style in front of an estimated 6,000 baseball fans, according to her father, Doug Jaeger.
"We're extremely proud of her and her bravery for getting in front of a crowd and singing some difficult pieces from memory," he says.
Her experiences singing the National Anthem at community games may have helped her pull it off, but her youthful eagerness surely didn't hurt. She was only 6 at the time.
But she wasn't always so bold.
Hitting the high notes
Cosette says her parents used to try to catch her little sister singing, but once Montana heard the "click" of the recorder, she would stop.
"I don't do that anymore," an older and less-bashful Montana reports. "And they still tape me."
Montana says family lore has it her love for singing may have started when she was an infant: "I was a crabby baby."
"You practiced 'singing' a lot, that's for sure," her dad responds sweetly.
From Disney tunes to TV show theme songs, the girls "sing basically half the time we're playing," Cosette says.
And they like the classics.
"We love to sing 'Feelin' Groovy'," Cosette says of the 1966 Simon and Garfunkel hit. "We like to sing duets."
"They've been singing as long as they've been able to talk," Doug explains.
Finding their voices
Just the beginning of boosting their stage-worthy confidence, they joined the "Petite Praisers" singing group at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights.
Then, the family entered them both in a pre-teen talent contest at this year's Dakota County Fair. Good thing they did, because the girls placed first and second.
Montana won first, going on to represent Dakota County at the Minnesota State Fair in front of a sizeable Saturday crowd.
With the sincerity of a proud big sister, Cosette marvels at her little sister stomping her foot confidently during her performance and finishing it out with a "powerful end."
"It was amazing!" Cosette enthuses. "I love it when she sings 'Let It Go.' I love it when she performs. I just love it!"
Singing in front of people "feels, actually, exciting," the youngest said.
And although her performance came across strong, especially for a first-grader, Montana admits, "I was shaking a little."
Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.