It’s nothing new to see the stars of old pack a concert hall with fans ranging from grandmothers and their grandchildren.
Well the Paramount has a twist in store for you Saturday night.
You still can see an act that appeals to young and old alike — but the “man” on stage is only 13.
Ethan Bortnick – the youngest performer ever to headline a concert tour – will be in town for a 6 p.m. show that will bring you everything from the Bieber to Bach.
He is a charming entertainer who knows how to touch an audience. He is a gifted musician who keeps fans memorized.
Don’t take my word for it. Go to his web page (www.ethanbortnick.com) and watch a video from one of his shows. I personally like the one of him on Jay Leno’s show. Bortnick was only in kindergarten then and had memorized more than 200 songs.
He has a gift, and he uses his power of music for good. The young man who began playing piano at age 3 already has helped raise more than $30 million for charity, especially charities that help children.
“I feel if you have a talent, you should use it to help other people,” Bortnick said Wednesday night, after finishing up a concert in Charlotte, N.C. “It doesn’t matter if your talent is music or cooking or sports. You should use your talent help other people.”
In 2010, he performed with the likes of Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion to record “We Are the World” to aid Haiti’s earthquake victims. His list of charitable giving is long. He has contributed to Miami’s Children Hospital, the Boys and Girls Club, the American Heart Association and many, many more.
Because of his philanthropy, Bortnick was featured on the cover of Esquire magazine.
He learned to care at a very young age.
“My younger brother had to have three heart surgeries,” he said. “When I went to visit him in the hospital, I saw him and a lot of kids who were having a hard time. I was small, and I asked, ‘Why did this have to happen? Why did this have to happen to us?’
“But now that I’m older, I understand a lot more.”
He understood that a lot of families didn’t have the funds to pay their hospital bills, so he was determined to help.
That determination seems to have paralleled his career in music.
“I asked my parents for piano lessons when I was 3, and they said, ‘No,’ Bortnick said.
So he picked up his little toy keyboard and began to play, note for note, everything he heard.
“I played the music that I heard on TV and on the radio,” he said. “I started copying the music so I could show my parents. They said, ‘We are going to get you piano lessons.’ ”
Although he has a natural gift, he wanted to learn more.
“It definitely benefited me,” he said. “I am always searching to learn more. You may think you know everything, but you are wrong. You can always learn more and expand and grow.”
His musical tastes run the gamut. The Florida native plays rock, classical, jazz — others’ and his own. He began to compose at age 5.
“Music is music,” he said. “I love to listen to every type of music.”
Oprah selected Ethan as one of her “All-Time Smartest, Most Talented Kids.” In 2010, he became the youngest musician to create and host his own award-winning national TV concert special. It aired on PBS. And last year he starred in “Anything is Possible,” a feature film about a young boy who goes missing after his family goes to Japan to help after the tsunami. Ethan co-wrote all of the songs in the film and scored the background music.
Quincy Jones even noted, “Ethan’s imagination and ability to create music from stories is unbelievable.”
He has performed across the world with some of the biggest names in the business.
This spring’s 30-city concert tour brings him to Charlottesville with his own band and a special guest, Damian McGinty.
The 21-year-old Irish singer and started singing in a band called Celtic Thunder when he was 14. He earned a seven-episode deal to appear on “Glee,” but he was so popular that his run was extended to 17 shows.
He will join Bortnick on stage Saturday, along with members of Albemarle County Public Schools’ Fifth-Grade Choir and surprise local guest artists.