At 16, Bailey Jeffko has a mature understanding of music and its healing power.
Recently, the Canton High School junior penned “26 Angels,” a tribute to those murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A videotaped version of the song has more than 62,000 views on YouTube.
But even more importantly, Bailey learned it was played during daily announcements at Newtown High School and helped at least one person who lost a family member that day.
“The fact that it got to them was really important to me,” Bailey said.
She’s also noted the comments on the song and received messages as far away as Germany from people who say it brought some comfort while dealing with such a tragic and senseless situation.
The song is sad and raises many questions but Bailey feels it also offers more.
“I wanted to give them hope — and when they listen to it — a way to cope,” she said.
Bailey and her family also plan to use the song for good. She's been asked to record and perform the song for fundraising efforts. The family is currently deciding what to do to ensure the most good is accomplished and all the money put to good use.
The Newtown situation was not the first time Bailey has tacked a serious situation in lyrics and music. In 8th grade she wrote about the devastating earthquakes in Haiti.
Not all of Bailey’s music is so serious. She writes about relationships and other every-day topics.
Music was also an early passion for Bailey.
In fourth-grade she performed “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” for a performing arts show at The Bushnell.
From there she performed at many talent shows but her talent developed even earlier.
“She came out singing,” her mother Jackie said.
Jackie, who also loves to sing, said music was a big part of the household. Bailey was only 3 when Jackie realized the extent of her daughter’s talent when she started singing a Ricky Martin song, complete with lyrics and perfect pitch.
“That’s when I realized, she’s got something,” Jackie Jeffko said.
Bailey’s background includes some formal training. While in 5th grade she took piano lessons from Connie Scavone, who is married to Canton Schools music department chair Tom Scavone.
Then in 9th grade she took voice lessons. She’s been a member of musical ensembles throughout schools, still performing with the high school chorus and chamber singers.
She also started writing as early as fourth grade and performed an original in a seventh-grade talent show.
Bailey is currently not taking lessons and while she can read music, she learns much by ear, listening to other musicians or watching them perform on YouTube. She said the training laid a solid foundation for her often-personal music.
With original songs she tried to keep her iPhone handy, recording lyrics.
“Sometimes random ideas pop into my head,” she said. “It just comes to me.”
Bailey also enjoys performing music written by others. She often performs covers and originals at Flatbread benefits with friends Lucas Rich on bass and Teddy Engvall on guitar.
Bailey is not sure if music will be her career but plans to keep it a big part of her life. She also loves science and hope to attend college in Boston.
“I think she has a good future in front of her regardless,” Jackie Jeffko said.