Evie Clair goes to the ball

Cattle Baron’s Ball, Nov. 10

Written by Amy Palser

When “America’s Got Talent” finalist Evie Clair performs at the American Cancer Society fundraiser in Wichita this month, she hopes to encourage the people who give their time, money and hearts to cancer patients.

It’s a subject that hits home for the 14-year-old singer/songwriter, whose father passed away from colon cancer about a year ago.

Her message? “Just to not lose hope,” she said recently as she waited for a plane to take her and mom, Hillary, to a performance in Virginia Beach, Va. “For me, I’ve sung for a lot of cancer organizations, who do research and fundraising and stuff, and I respect everyone who goes into that business and I really like supporting it. It’s very cool.”

Evie, 14, wowed the AGT judges with her piano and singing talents in fall 2017, receiving standing ovations from Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandell and Mel B, and advancing through each round of competition. But throughout the exciting AGT journey, she and her family were struggling with a personal heartache: her dad’s battle with colon cancer. Evie sang with tender confidence throughout the contest, dedicating her performances to her dad. He died a week before the finals.

Many of the songs Evie wrote for her dad are the ones she will perform at the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball on Nov. 10 at Hyatt Regency Wichita. “She’ll be talking about her dad and why each song is special,” said Sarah Vincze, who is organizing the ball. “It’s going to be very emotional.”

Each year the event features a “designated ask,” in which a special collection taken at the event will go toward fighting a specific kind of cancer. This year’s designated ask is for colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S., excluding skin cancers. In Kansas, colorectal cancer is expected to kill 470 people this year, but the chance for survival increases dramatically with early detection.

A few tickets are still available for the event, which features a dinner, live and silent auctions, a main program and entertainment by The Fabulous Shirtheads. Evie will perform for 180 VIP guests from 5–6 p.m., and says she’ll highlight the power of hope.

“We had hope all the way to the end, and we were able to be happy the whole time. We didn’t let something that was scary and hard steal our joy. We were grateful for what we had,” she said. “It was a hard experience for sure, and I know there’s a lot of people going through that — and it sucks — but there’s a way to find joy even in the hardest time.”

Evie, whose real name is Evelyn Clair Abplanalp, began singing and playing piano at age 2, performing in church, school and community theater. Her breakthrough moment came on the AGT stage, where she ended the competition in the top 10.

For the last year, Evie has been performing across the country, and will be headlining a Christmas show in Reno for the next few months called “The Unbelievables.” Life looks a lot different now than it did before AGT, she said. “It’s crazy. I’m doing online school now. I’m just a lot busier. It’s pretty crazy and it’s different than what everything used to be like, but it’s fun and it’s good for me to be busy.”

But she also enjoys her days off, she said, where she can be at home in Florence, Ariz., with her mom, brother and three sisters. “Every once in a while we have some chill days,” she said.

For tickets to the Cattle Baron’s Ball, call 316.616.6513.

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