Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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20190130 Kelli Marie 7753 PRWho knew that just a few short years ago a 12 year old would become the youngest ever solo entertainer with her own show in the Rio Grande Valley? This year, Kelli Marie also became the youngest person to be nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year along with Maggie May, Tavie Spivey and LaDawn, three veteran performers and friends.

Around the age of 10, Kelli Marie was invited on stage to do special numbers with such artists at The Punches family, Kerry Christiansen, Bill Chrastil, Mario and Southern Anthem. But Kelli’s talent as a multi-faceted vocalist was discovered by businessman Jim Fitzgerald one afternoon in his living room where Kelli’s dad was helping him with some painting. Shortly after an audition in that same room, Jim and Debbie, his wife, co-owners of Don-Wes Flea Market, offered several entertainment slots to this 12-year-old kid. At these gigs, invitations began coming in to perform at various RV and mobile home parks and resorts.

Anyone who knows Kelli, knows that she has always been socially advanced beyond her years, said Michael Christianson, Kelli’s father. This combined with her undeniable vocal talent and cheerful personality lights up even the largest stages in southern Texas and numerous venues throughout Mexico, U.S. and Canada. But the back story is even more interesting and quite inspirational, Michael said.

Kelli Marie’s mother, Marieta, is a former English teacher and her father, Michael – better known as “Kelli’s Dad”, has been a medical missions volunteer since 2000. Michael has made more than 400 border crossings into Mexico donating everything from natural medicines and Band-Aids ® to wheelchairs and hospital beds, in partnership with numerous friends and churches, Michael explained. Together, the family has conducted many dozens of health seminars, lectured on family and civic responsibilities, built or remodeled small health clinics and churches, and taught in private and public schools. On more than 200 occasions, Michael or the entire family has joined forces with government, health or church organizations to conduct medical brigades and health fairs. Over 20,000 eye exams have been performed and many thousands of pairs of eye glasses and eye medicines have been distributed, according to Michael.

Kelli is generally the receptionist, noting patients’ names and directing patient traffic for these brigades. Since age 10, she has been the team’s translator for English-only-speaking doctors, nurses, surgeons, teachers, pastors and priests. She has been “home and car schooled” due to frequent travels and medical mission trips, Michael stated. She is active in church and civic activities and participates in weekly Christian youth clubs and camping programs, and she studies art, guitar and photography privately at the University of Montemorelos. She is frequently invited to lead the song service in church and public Christian crusades.

“Our family’s faith and confidence in the Devine has sustained us through many trials and dangers,” Michael said. These convictions are shared in Kelli’s concerts along with family friendly comedy and audience participation.

“Kelli’s dad” invites Winter Texans to be entertained and inspired by “the Valley’s Sweetheart,” Miss Kelli Marie. Her shows consist of tributes to such artists as Dolly, Loretta, Reba, Adele, Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt, Tammy Wynette, Marie Osmond and others. Her performances include a variety of musical genres including pop, country, easy listening, Mo-town and Gospel. For bookings, contact Kelli at or phone 417-434-7566.

Kelli will be performing at Ranchero Village, Weslaco, at 7 p.m., Jan. 30; Countryside, Donna, 2 p.m., Feb. 3; Palm Shadows, Donna, 7 p.m. Feb. 4; and Country Sunshine, Weslaco, 7 p.m., Feb. 5. For additional shows, watch for her ad in the Wintertainers™ section of the Winter Texan Times.

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