University Student Meredith Calcagno Sings “Hero” on the Katie Couric Show “Katie”

Meredith Calcagno, music education student, was given a chance to pursue her life-long dream to sing on a nationwide television network on Thursday, April 11. Calcagno was told she would be auditioning to be on Katie Couric’s talk show, “Katie.” Little did she know, there was no audition, just the audience waiting to hear her first big break.

Calcagno’s singing talents were recognized at a very young age. She began singing alongside her grandfather after Sunday night dinners.

“After dinner, Poppy couldn’t wait to get the microphone and tape recorder out so that I could sing,” said Calcagno. “I have cassette tapes of me at age four-and-a-half singing Whitney Houston.”

As she grew up, Calcagno continued to sing with her father who performs at weddings and private parties. She learned a lot from visiting her father’s recording studio and his performances during her childhood.

Singing will always be Calcagno’s passion. “Singing encompasses every aspect of my life,” said Calcagno. “I can honestly say that a day doesn’t go by when I am not singing. You know the old phrase ‘spring in your step’, well I have ‘sing in my step.’”

Calcagno was given the news that she would be “auditioning” on “Katie” over the phone. Her family and boyfriend, Tony Ganter, were also called. “One of the ladies from the Katie Couric show told me that Meredith was going to be on the show but it was going to be a surprise,” said Ganter. “I was so excited for her to be able to showcase her talent on national television.”

In preparation for the “audition” Calcagno received assistance from Megan Hilty, singer/ actress on Broadway’s “Wicked,” and television show “Smash.”

Calcagno was lead onstage as she patiently awaited her audition. As she stepped onto stage she found Couric, Hilty and an audience full of people awaiting her arrival. Calcagno quickly realized that she was not going to an audition.

Calcagno was one of the stars on the “How to Grab Your Moment” episode of the Katie Couric show. She performed the song “Hero” by Mariah Carey. “I had no idea that the show was actually allowing only me to pursue my dream of performing on a nationwide stage as an aspiring artist,” said Calcagno.

“I sat in amazement watching the episode and [seeing Meredith] performing like a true star. She even made me cry,” said Christina DeKovics, Calcagno’s childhood friend. “I believe she is so talented and will go very far once the right opportunity comes along.”

Hilty even recognized Calcagno’s singing ability during the show. “It is a real testament to her talent,” said Hilty. “She is amazing.”

Calcagno submitted a brief paragraph to the Katie Couric show explaining her dream to perform on a nationwide television program. The show received the submission and agreed that Calcagno had talent.

“She made me cry; to see one of my best friends on TV doing what she loves made me very happy for her,” said Jenna Kanaley, University student. “I’m also a music education major at Monmouth and I can say she inspired me to go for what I love as well.”

After graduation, Calcagno hopes that all of her dreams and aspirations as a singer will be fulfilled. She hopes to pursue a career of a music educator or music performer. “Either path is a promising one, so it’s a win-win situation. Dreams do not have deadlines,” said Calcagno.

Watch Meredith’s performance on YouTube in a video called “Meredith Calcagno – Hero- Katie.”