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For the love of singing

For the love of singing

ENTERTAINMENT: Despite challenges, Miri Silvert pursues the love of the song

Mirjana "Miri" Silvert loves to sing.

Being born with a vision condition that prevented her optic nerves from developing and a pituitary problem that slowed her development didn't slow down the 16-year-old Valparaiso girl. Even being diagnosed with autism at the age of 4 hasn't stopped her.

"She's always been super musical. She hummed at age 2. She always had that ability," said her mother, Debra.

Miri has sung before audiences before during karaoke contests and at the Porter County Fair's Country Showdown, and now she's been recorded on a compact disc.

Samuel Lozada, of Mo Beat Blues, said he first saw Miri last fall when he judged the local edition of the Indiana Idol contest.

"When she sang, she stole our hearts. She did a fantastic job," said Lozada, of Portage.

Lozada wanted to help the Silvert family and sought to sponsor some fundraisers, but they never came to fruition. Instead, he thought, he'd invite Miri to record a track on his newest CD and donate the proceeds from the sale of his "That Crazy Lady of Mine" with Miri's rendition of Patsy Cline's "Crazy" to a trust for Miri's benefit.

"She never heard her voice before she came into the studio. She heard herself and you should have heard her scream, 'Is that really me?'" Lozada said.

Debra Silvert said Miri is extremely excited about have a track on the CD.

"She thinks its really cool, really neat. It was one of our goals," said Silvert, adding despite her daughter's challenges, she and her husband, Michael, are hoping Miri can make her way in the world and that, possibly, music might provide her income.

"We've recently been trying to encourage her more and more," Silvert said.

Miri will perform with Lozada when he performs from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 6 at the Revelli Bandshell at Festival Park on Old Ridge Road.


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