When Roxane Napoli welcomed her oldest daughter, Isabella, into the world, she immediately noticed something about her rosy cheeked, doe-eyed infant.
"She already had volume," Roxane said with a smile.
"They said I screamed pretty loud," said Isabella, now 9 and a fourth-grader at Bishop Larkin Catholic School.
This Trinity resident was even excused from a preschool class at one point because of her amplified method of communication. Since that time, though, she has been welcomed and encouraged to sing in a number of scholastic and public venues. And last month her talents were showcased on the local Fox affiliate morning show Good Day Tampa Bay.
Isabella sang Memories from the musical Cats in a segment entitled "A Star is Born." And sure enough, when Isabella returned to school the day after her March 14 performance, she felt like a star.
"I gave my first two autographs the next day at lunch," she said. "Two third-graders asked me to sign their lunch napkins."
Standing by her side on the Good Day Tampa Bay appearance was Linda Copperfield Ginn, the Holiday vocal coach who has helped to train and develop Isabella's skills since age 4.
The girl realized at an early age that she wanted to sing and share her talents with an audience.
"I don't know why I love to sing, I just do," she said. "And I love going up on stage and standing in the lights — it's so cool."
She struck up an immediate affinity with Copperfield Ginn, who offers private lessons as well as music classes through Music Matters in New Port Richey.
"I noticed from the beginning that Isabella had perfect pitch," said Copperfield Ginn. "She had a wonderful voice and dramatic stage presence."
Over the years Copperfield Ginn has helped secure public singing performances for Isabella. She also sings in the chorus at Bishop Larkin and performed the national anthem at a recent state karate tournament — before going to the mat and taking home a bronze medal as a student of Ingram's Pro Karate Center in New Port Richey.
She also has a passion for songwriting, having penned her first song, Baby Cat, at age 6. And as a participant in a recent Bishop Larkin Invention Convention, she created an all-in-one music stand to hold an iPad with song lyrics, a cup holder on one side and a recording device on the top.
It was when she performed earlier this year at the Friday Morning Musicale in Tampa that people really began to take notice. A featured singer in a student recital organized by Copperfield Ginn, Isabella attracted the attention of officials at the Tampa Firefighters Museum, who invited her to perform at the museum in late February. In turn, this performance attracted the attention of folks at Good Day Tampa Bay.
"To me it's not about her becoming a singing star, but about her doing something worthwhile with her talent," said Roxane Napoli, "and I know she will."
Indeed, Isabella someday hopes to become a professional recording artist who donates part of her record sales to charitable causes including the Holy Childhood mission, a Catholic-based effort to aid homeless children. Isabella belongs to a Holy Childhood chapter at Bishop Larkin and also attends St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church with her family.
Isabella's next public performance will be Saturday at the Hyde Park Wine Festival. In the meantime, she plans many more mini concerts in the theater of her own home, before an audience that consists of teacher Copperfield Ginn, mom Roxane, dad Jerry, brother JJ, 7; and sister Noelle, 15 months.
She's been known to break into a capella versions of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables and As If We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard. And when she belts out one particular line from Goodbye with special gusto, she just may be referencing her own future:
"We have magic in the making."