European pop star to perform in Norcross Christmas concert

A former central European teen pop star will perform at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Norcross this week. A nationally known figure in the U.S. since 2000, Tajci has performed more than 600 concerts in the states since fleeing Croatia at the age of 21.

The young artist, formally educated in the prestigious Croatian Music Conservatory, was adored by billions of television and music fans in her home country and across Europe. Once the atheist regime in Croatia assumed power, Tajci shocked her fans and friends by giving up her lucrative career and moving to the U.S., alone and unknown. She began performing in churches nationwide, and has been building a dedicated fan base ever since.

Her popularity in America is spreading beyond churches. A Tajci in-studio concert on XM Satellite Radio's "Hear" eclectic music station was immediately popular and has been replayed several times.

"People are hungry to be fed spiritually and this is a great way to do it, through this woman's music," said the Rev. John Skehan of York, Maine. Tajci performed in York's church last spring.

Critics speculate that Tajci's moving performances are rooted in her own challenging experiences as well as in her spiritual depth and understanding. Thursday's concert will feature music based in ancient Gregorian chants to contemporary favorites and original compositions.

"This program is a unique, beautiful celebration of Christmas," said Cheryl Stewart, assistant to the pastor at St. Patrick's in Norcross.

The congregation at St. Patrick's is a diverse group, representing countries from all over the world. Tajci's performance Thursday will likely speak to many in a way that only immigrants can appreciate and understand.

Tajci will perform familiar Christmas favorites as well as some of her own original compositions Thursday. The soulful singer/songwriter will play keyboards, accompanied by electronic instrumentalist Denny Bouchard and cellist Larissa Fedoryka.

For more information about Tajci and to hear recordings of some of her songs, visit www.idobelieve.com. For more information about St. Patrick's Catholic Church, visit www.stpatricks-norcross.org.

SideBar: If You Go

What: "Emmanuel - The Story of Christmas" concert

Where: St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 2140 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Cost: Free, with donations accepted