A little girl with a big voice

Eight-year-old Dana Ryan has never had a problem performing with people watching.

All eyes will be on Dana at Friday night's Crescenta Valley High School boys' basketball game. Dana will get the ball rolling at 7 p.m. by singing the national anthem before the game.

"I'm not nervous at all. I am actually very excited," said Dana, a second-grader at Mountain Avenue Elementary School in La Crescenta.

Dana was approached to sing the national anthem for the Crescenta Valley basketball game after someone heard her singing at her grandfather's funeral.

It's not uncommon for Dana to break out in song whenever a crowd forms, and most people are surprised by what they hear, said Rachel Ryan, Dana's mother.

"She has no problem doing that," Ryan said. "She's never nervous either. It's her thing — the more people the better. She has this confidence most parents dream their kids had."

Deb Parker, Dana's Girl Scout Brownie leader, first heard Dana sing when she was 5 or 6. Like many, she was surprised to hear such a big singing voice come from such a tiny person.

"She was just this natural belter — never had a lesson in her life," Parker said. "She's this typical kid, but she has this great voice, and she seems to not have any fear. She has no problem getting in front of people and singing."

Once Ryan realized how great her daughter's talents were, she enrolled her in singing lessons with India Dupre, the musical director for the La Cañada Jr. Theater. Dana also takes piano and guitar lessons and has been a part of several La Cañada Jr. Theater productions.

Dana played Miss Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls" and the leading role in "Annie." She is practicing for the role of Mother Abbess in the theater group's upcoming production of "The Sound of Music."

Her dreams go far beyond the stage of the local junior theater though. Dana wants to compete on "American Idol" when she's 16 and eventually work her way to Broadway.

"The thing that really makes me happy is that I make other people happy when I sing," Dana said.

Parker said Dana could use her talents to make a lot of people happy, adding that she just seems to have that "it" quality.

"She's just really personable and has a talent that hasn't been fully realized yet," Parker said. "I don't think she has any clue about her abilities; it's something that's innate to her."

For more information on Dana or to see her in action, visit her website, http://www.danaleeryan.com.

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