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Harry Connick, Jr. meets unexpected fan

Imagine the experience of appearing on stage with someone famous, perhaps a person known for their musical talent and good looks, a person that you have admired all your life.

For most, this situation remains a distant dream. However, for one imaginative five-year-old named Tyler, these dreams came true on Feb. 25.

When Tyler, son of Jon [campus history teacher] and Debbie Hall, was at home, he often enjoyed listening to the soft, sophisticated melodies of Harry Connick Jr., a well-known jazz pianist and vocal artist.

His ?Songs I Heard? album, composed of famous tunes for children, caught the attention of Tyler and in no time became his favorite album among those introduced to him by his parents.

One day, Tyler asked his dad if he could call Connick, Jr. on the phone and congratulate him for the good job he had done on the release of his new album.

?At this point, we had to explain to Tyler how getting in contact with celebrities was not as easy as he may have thought,? Jon Hall said.

A week later, his parents heard the news that Connick Jr. had been on tour and was scheduled to appear in Fresno, and they bought tickets as soon as they were available.

?We contemplated bringing Tyler, but knew it was a grown up concert,? Debbie Hall explained. ?So, I sent off a ?shot in the dark? e-mail explaining that it was Tyler?s birthday and describing the card he had made just for him.?

When Connick, Jr.?s manager e-mailed the parents back, he told them they were both to receive backstage passes to meet Harry and his group that night after the concert.

While the concert was centered on songs from Connick, Jr.?s latest children?s album, Jon and Debbie realized that, although Tyler loved Connick, Jr.?s work, they had only been given two tickets and could not bring Tyler along.

So, on the night of the concert, the reluctant parents sat in the arena watching Connick, Jr. perform. An unexpected pause a song occurred, and Connick, Jr. spoke up: ?There is a little boy named Tyler who is five today and loves my singing. Where?s Tyler, bring him on up!?

Amazed at his request, Debbie stood up and shouted, ?I?m Tyler?s mom.?

Connick, Jr. responded, ?Hi Tyler?s mom, where?s Tyler?

?He?s at home sick with his grandmother,? shouted Debbie over the roar of the audience.

When invited, the couple moved up to a few reserved seats next to the stage and began explaining their situation to Connick, Jr. as he prepared for another song.

Curious about Tyler?s situation and determined to meet his young fan, Connick, Jr. said, ?Get on the phone with Grandma and have them bring Tyler down here. I want to meet him!?

After several more songs and a few more queries as to Tyler?s whereabouts, Grandpa finally arrived with the now widely known Tyler, who had become the other star of the night.

Tyler made his way through the crowded auditorium to Connick, Jr., who invited both he and his mother up on stage to join him as he sang the much-loved children?s song, ?Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?.

After singing the song, with Tyler perched upon the top of the piano the entire time, Connick, Jr. himself leapt on top of the piano and led the audience in a chorus of ?Happy Birthday? to Tyler and his mom.

?After the show he was really nice and personable with us and with Tyler, telling of how he had got his start singing the National Anthem when he was about Tyler?s age,? Jon explained.

After taking a few photos of Tyler and his famous new friend, Harry encouraged Tyler to continue his piano lessons in the upcoming future.

?As it turns out, the subplot of the ?Where is Tyler bit?? lasted almost half the concert, literally seeming to make it the ?Harry and Tyler Show,? Jon said. ? The whole experience turned out to be 100 times better than we could have ever hoped for.?

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