Vanessa Carr sings the Italian national anthem at a Jimmy John’s game Aug. 25 for Italian Heritage Night.

Vanessa Carr sings the Italian national anthem at a Jimmy John’s game Aug. 25 for Italian Heritage Night.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Local singer visits Jimmy John’s Field for Italian-American Heritage Night

By: Kara Szymanski | C&G Newspapers | Published September 2, 2022

 Carr interacts with the audience during the game.

Carr interacts with the audience during the game.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


UTICA/STERLING HEIGHTS/SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Fans at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica had a visit from a special guest recently.

Vanessa Carr is a singer/dancer born and raised in Macomb County, who attended Utica High School. She recently was invited to sing at Jimmy John’s Field for Italian-American Heritage Night Aug. 25.

Carr first started performing onstage at age 3 and is now a full-time performer.

She has always enjoyed attending the games at Jimmy John’s Field, but this season has been particularly exciting for her, as she was the resident anthem singer.

She was in the grandstand and on the field once again Aug. 25. The evening featured songs from some favorite Italian-American performers.

Carr said she has been singing the national anthem at the ballpark since its inaugural season in 2016.

“Whenever I have the opportunity to sing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ I jump on it,” she said.

Carr said she was happy to be performing during the event because she is an Italian American, and because it supports local events and businesses.

“I am an Italian American, and I am happy to be able to entertain at occasions like this. I have performed at various other Italian events and venues in the area, as well, such as Andiamo’s and Da Francesco’s. I also sing with my musical partner and neighbor, Joe Caruso, at Luciano’s Italian Restaurant on Saturday evenings. I provide dining entertainment at a fairly new restaurant in Troy called Cucina Lab on Thursday evenings, as well. Some of my favorite events are Festa Italiania, Domenica Italiana and Nonni’s Pasta Night with the (Italian American Cultural Society). I have had the joy of performing with Italian tenor Aaron Caruso (of the Sicilian Tenors) and with Dino Valle of the Bellini Opera,” she said.

She said she had always hoped to be able to perform at Jimmy John’s Field one day, as she has many connections to the field and the local area.

“The ballpark is such a gem for Macomb County,” she said. “In 2017, I worked as their marketing/entertainer manager. I was the person hiring the talent to entertain at these games. Now, I am the talent. Being a full-time performer, returning five years later is a home run for me. There are already talks of performance opportunities in the 2023 season.”

She said she sang for many different events and sports games, such as the Detroit Tigers and Lions, and in Detroit on Thanksgiving morning before the Turkey Trot.

“Other occasions and locations I have sung our anthem for are ‘The Frank Beckmann Show,’ the Air Force Association’s 70th anniversary event, the Corktown Races, the M1 Concourse and various fundraisers and political events,” said Carr.

She said she already has events planned for the future around the local area.

“I am hosting and performing at a red-carpet event in Detroit next spring. It’s a music video premiere/concert celebrating the MotorCity. Proceeds will benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank,” she said.

She said singing at the game was a blast, and the energy was amazing.

“To look up into the grandstand and see fans on their feet, clapping their hands, singing along and waving hello is so exciting to me. What more could you ask for? If they are enjoying themselves, then I have done my job,” she said.

She said she feels delighted to be singing at a place so close to home.

“While I do perform throughout the state, it is always a delight entertaining in my own community,” she said. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been involved in the community with different organizations. It is always a thrill seeing familiar faces in the audience and feeling the support of the area I grew up in.”

Carr said she recently performed at another event at Jimmy John’s Field, and it went very well.

“I was also the featured entertainment for Diva Night (music of Whitney Houston, Pat Benatar, Cher, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and Donna Summer). I can’t express how much fun it was to connect with the community. The audience was on their feet with their hands in the air, clapping along and singing along with smiles from ear to ear,” she said.

She said she was thrilled to get the chance to see everyone and bring everyone together for a great game and to meet the community.

She said she is now focusing on her next local performance and an album.

“In September and October, I will be returning from my summer hiatus to provide dining entertainment at Luciano’s Italian Restaurant and Cucina Lab Torino,” she said.

Dominic LaRosa, an advertising executive of the 113-year-old Italian Tribune newspaper and a liaison to the Italian American community, said the show went well.

“The performances were excellent. Vanessa Carr reminds me and has the performance style of a young Liza Minelli,” LaRosa said.

Katie Page, the senior director of marketing and public relations for Jimmy John’s Field, said she was proud of how the night went and said that Carr always gets the crowd going.

“It was a great night. Vanessa is a class act. She has done a few promotional nights with us. Every time she is at Jimmy John’s Field, the crowd is so engaged. We love having her at the ballpark,” she said.

For more information, visit Vanessa Carr Music on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, or