Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


If you’re interested in those reality singing shows on TV (The Voice, etc.), or if you question whether American children work hard enough to showcase their skills – please take the time to watch three minutes of pianist Alexandra Dovgan.

From time to time I get emails from readers asking why we can’t do more to showcase the arts – marching bands, show choir, etc.

After all, some write, “There are kids who excel in other things besides sports.”

And it’s true that we like to share sometimes the stories behind the stories of favorite songs and artists that performed them –  so much a part of the American tapestry.

I’ve written previously that I’m intrigued by Americans’ pre-occupation with singers – American Idol, The Voice, The ‘X’ Factor, etc. – and our fascination with 15-year-olds like Chevel Shepherd, who recently won ‘The Voice’ competition.  Shepherd no doubt set herself up for a successful and lucrative recording and performance career.  The ones that didn’t win?  I don’t know what happens to them.   All I know is there’s so much singing that we don’t seem to recognize other talents aside from that which Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and Kelly Clarkson turn around to watch.

There are lots of people with talent, but from my own experience I also know that there are degrees of talent.  And I also know that there are degrees of commitment to make the most of talent; and that great talent can labor for years in obscurity before it’s discovered…if it’s ever discovered.

We correctly address that kids today are so much more advanced than previous generations because the electronic media has made the world so much smaller. “Go for it,” we call it, and they do go for it because it’s easier to be discovered than ever before.   So and so is on a non-stop ride to the top…as long as he or she is a singer!

Well a friend in New York recently sent me a link to the performance of one eleven year old named Alexandra Dovgen, a girl from Russia who plays the piano, and started playing when she was five. When I watched the video (which I’ve embedded for your own enjoyment) it made my jaw drop.

It’s Dovgan performing in the 2018 Grand Piano Competition in Europe (last summer), and her skill and confidence to perform for one so young is stunning. Compared to The Voice and American Idol, she’s off the charts.  She performs the Mendelssohn Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in this clip, which is one of the world’s most physically challenging compositions and she just nails it.

It’s true that Dovgan was discovered as a child prodigy at age five, and that she has studied since at the Moscow Conservatory.  And it’s a fact that she’s one in a million (or more) when it comes to people with this skill. But as you listen to her play remember…she only eleven years old!

So to Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell, if you think ‘America’s Got Talent’ for the sake of magicians and balloon artists, feast your eyes on Alexandra Dovgan, who has talent that America (or the world) rarely sees.  And as you listen, consider.  She’s been playing for six years.