A dad went viral after his spontaneous version of “Ave Maria” at Disney World captured the hearts of netizens. Justin Gigliello’s young daughter Lyla asked the pianist working at the resort if her dad could sing along to his playing. The pianist obliged, then Gigliello showed off a truly beautiful and refined classical tenor voice.
The performance took place at the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which is a Victorian-themed hotel, making the classical performance quite fitting. The well-built Gigliello however was wearing shorts and a football jersey, making for quite an incongruous scene as he sang the heavenly classical song with the pianist, who was dressed in a full formal dinner suit. Lyla was dressed for the occasion though, looking cute as a button in a Minnie Mouse shirt.
Gigliello’s performance was a hit across various social media platforms, with the video hosted on FOX 35 Orlando racking up 14 million views. This made it by far the most popular video on the television station’s channel. It turns out that talent runs in the family, as Lyla is also quite the singer. You can hear her sing a duet with her dad in the video below, where the pair sing the “Part Of Your World” from The Little Mermaid, which is hosted on Gigliello’s YouTube channel.
Music lovers online couldn’t get enough of the Disney World performance, adding positive comments such as “The way his daughter is looking at him throughout is one of the things that makes being a dad special” and “That little girl has a memory that will last her lifetime. Good job Dad!”
Commenters also pointed out that the pianist, Wes Hamrick, also deserves credit for his beautiful playing. Hamrick has been playing at Walt Disney World for a decade, with his career at the resort going all the way back to 2013.
As for Gigliello, he is a classically-trained opera singer who works professionally in the industry. The singer, who hails from North Stonington Town in Connecticut, became somewhat of a sensation after the video went viral. He has since been interviewed by several national media outlets, including Fox and Steve Harvey’s show.
Gigliello is an alumnus of Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and he reflected on his brush with fame in an interview with the institution. The interviewer noted that many commenters were surprised that a big man in a football jersey would come out singing “Ave Maria”, to which the singer said:
“I think it is great, and I love it! I think it adds to people’s reactions once they hear me sing. When I was at the Conservatory I always got ‘you don’t look like you should be an opera singer’, jokingly, of course. But it was all because of my love for sports and how I carried myself. You can never judge a book by its cover.” If you would like to see more from Justin Gigliello, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook.