Years before her performances at Ravinia Festival and appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, 7-year-old Emily Bear from Rockford was just a baby who stunned her grandmothers with a piano melody. She began playing piano scales before she was potty trained.
Emily's grandmother, Marcelle Bear, was the first to notice her talent while visiting the family. A month and a half later, Emily's other grandmother, trained pianist Merle Langs, called Julliard to get a recommendation for a piano teacher. The school referred her to the Music Institute of Chicago's Emilio Del Rosario.
Emily made her professional debut at Ravinia at age 5, the youngest performer in the festival's history.
Before a performance, Emily always practices, puts on her Strawberry Lip Smacker and bounces around a bit with excitement. "Then she gets out there and she's just focused," says Emily's mother, Andrea.
Emily will soon release her fourth CD. She wants to be a composer when she grows up and looks up to blockbuster movie scorer John Williams.
Although she's been called a piano prodigy, Emily isn't glued to the instrument. After home schooling with tutors, she likes to play outside with her miniature golden doodle puppy, Winston. She's also not the only musically inclined Bear. Her older siblings Lauren and Benji are also musicians.
On Aug. 20, Emily will perform at the Music at the Museum concert series at Kohl's Children's Museum. She's excited about the concert because it's "for the kids." She plans to take requests from the audience and compose songs on the spot.
Emily's concert will be outdoors in the museum's Habitat Park, located at 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. Tickets are $5 for the general public. Visit www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org for more information. Don't miss Emily's last major performance before she turns a whopping 8 years old.