Gigi's Playhouse namesake sings national anthem at White Sox game developmental disability night

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Thursday, September 16, 2021
Gigi's House namesake sings national anthem at White Sox game
Gigi Gianna, whose mother founded Gigi's Playhouse to provide activities and education to people with Down syndrome, sang the national anthem at tonight's White Sox game.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For someone with Down syndrome, the simple act of singing takes years of practice working to make muscles in the mouth and lungs work. Singing the national anthem in front of thousands of fans at a White Sox game, well, that's another challenge altogether.

Gigi Gianni knocked it out of the park.

"She wears her diagnosis of Down syndrome on her face and for her to stand up today meant everything," said her mother Nancy Gianni.

Nancy Gianna founded the first Gigi's Playhouse in Hoffman Estates after he daughter was born 19 years ago. It provides activities and education for people with Down syndrome, and has quickly grown to 54 locations in the United States and Mexico.

The White Sox asked Gigi to sing for their developmental disability night.

"It's great to have her here and for all the people she's helped," said Julie Taylor, White Sox guest services director.

In fact, Gigi is something of a rock star here, with fans coming up to meet her and pose for pictures. Despite all the hoopla, she kept calm.

"I never get nervous," she said. "Only [my mom] gets nervous."

"It was like a thank you God moment," Nancy Gianni said. "She's representing people who need our support, who need people to believe in them. See their potential, not their limitations."

Gigi said she embraces her role as an ambassador for Gigi's Playhouse, and she recognizes that performances like this one help inspire others with Down syndrome to recognize anything is possible.