WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marlana VanHoose, the great-niece of Barbara and John Schwarz of Piqua, will perform during the presidential inaugural ceremonies on Thursday and Saturday in Washington, D.C., as part of Voices of the People.
Voices of the People will feature performers from the hundreds of applications received by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to take part in inaugural festivities. VanHoose, 21, will sing two songs between 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., as part of the 58th Presidential Inaugural Concert.
She will perform again between 10-11 a.m. Saturday morning during the interfaith National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral.
VanHoose, the daughter of David and Teresa VanHoose of Kentucky, has performed several times at Upper Valley Community Church in Piqua and at St. Paul’s Evangelical & Reformed Church. She was born with Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and by the time she was a few weeks old, it was discovered that she was blind. She was not expected to live past one year. At the age of 2, Marlana also was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy.
VanHoose was humming “Jesus Loves Me” before she talked and by the time she was 2 years old, she started playing the piano.
VanHoose, who stopped growing at age 10, has sung all over the United States at various events and churches. The recipient of many awards, including the 2015 Youth Artist of the Year, she sung the National Anthem at a University of Kentucky Women’s Basketball game in 2012.
Since going viral on YouTube, the CBS evening news aired her story, she has sung at three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Races, NCAA women’s basketball tournaments and at several NBA basketball games. She also has sung for the 2015 NBA Playoffs including the 2015 NBA Finals, Game 6. ESPN-E-60 aired “Loud and Proud,” a story about Marlana and the UK women’s basketball.
In Ohio, VanHoose has performed at the Reds’ opening day for the past two years and for the Dayton Dragons.
Piqua native and singer BJ Brown helped VanHoose when she started out by recording her first two CDs. He also gave her her first keyboard.
“I am very grateful for Pastor Paul Jetter, Pastor Andy Monnin, the Rev. Dr. Keith A. Gebhart, BJ Brown, and the Piqua community have been very supportive of my singing,” VanHoose said.
She also has appeared on various other shows such as “Inside Edition” and “Entertainment Tonight.” VanHoose also had the honor of singing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.