The nearly four-hour wait was worth it for sisters Madison and Kendall Marple. Madison, 9, and Kendall, 7, of Medina, were among the handful of fans who received impromptu hugs from singer and teen television star Jennette McCurdyduring her brief concert at mall in Strongsville Tuesday night.
The Marples were among the first concert-goers to arrive at about 3 p.m., three hours before the scheduled showtime. Their mother, Rebecca, and grandmother, Chris, a longtime Strongsville resident who moved to Medina two months ago, took turns holding the family’s place in line.
“I get excited about giving them a chance for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rebecca Marple said, moments after Madison described her delight at getting front-row space to see McCurdy instead of attending dance class.
Madison and Kendall are active in Girl Scouts and likely already understand the message McCurdy sought to impress upon her young fans. McCurdy said she hopes the music from her new single “Generation Love,” released Tuesday, will inspire youth to volunteer their time and resources to helping others.
“Past generations have a lot of times given (my) generation a bad rap, that we’re about instant gratification, a ‘texting’ generation,” McCurdy said in an interview on her tour bus just before the show. “I have an optimistic view of my generation being known for something more substantial.”
McCurdy, 18, of Garden Grove, CA, plays Sam Puckett on the Nickeldeon hit series iCarly. She is touring shopping malls nationwide to promote “Generation Love” and raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
A mall representative estimated a concert crowd of about 1,500. More than 500 people who purchased a $10 CD of McCurdy’s music were guaranteed an autograph. A post-concert line stretched from the center court stage to the main entrance doors, prompting some parents to skip out, toting crying girls clutching photos of McCurdy.
The petite star’s humble persona and seemingly genuine concern for the welfare of others were surprising yet refreshing contrasts from the sassy character she plays on iCarly.
McCurdy said she chose to donate proceeds from her tour sales to St. Jude because of the hospital’s unique commitment to treating any terminally ill child, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. McCurdy’s mother was recently diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, so St. Jude’s extensive work in researching pediatric cancer treatments seemed all the more meaningful to McCurdy.
Hoping to motivate a generation of love, McCurdy encouraged her fans to seek opportunities for service.
“Never underestimate a small thing because it takes all those with the big things,” she said.