‘There is a healing power about music’

Emily and Erika Cretens of Gladstone, Mich.


Identical twins Emily and Erika Cretens have been singing since they learned to walk.

Born in Lansing, Mich., they were part of the children’s choir in their church before moving to the Upper Peninsula when they were 5.

The twins later joined the choir in their new church, where they enjoyed singing in front of the congregation. The girls’ talent was nurtured in the choir, and today the young women give back to the community by performing at benefits for nonprofit groups.

They especially like to sing country music and the national anthem.

Last spring, Emily and Erika received a call from the director of Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, Mich., a camp on Lake Superior for children and adults with physical disabilities.

The sisters were asked to sing the national anthem at a special fundraiser, the Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour.

Their performance in front of 5,000 Packers fans in the Superior Dome in Marquette was so impressive that the team’s president and CEO, Mark Murphy, invited the girls to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a preseason scrimmage game at Lambeau Field.

“It was the experience of our lives!” Erika, 21, said. “We had a blast. To stand on a field with such history is priceless.”

Raised by their father, Joseph, and paternal grandmother, Noma Cretens, the twins always have turned to music to help them deal with the challenges caused by their disability, Fairbanks condition.

“We are short and often have painful joints,” Erika said.

“Music helped us get through those tough years, the bullying. Music helped us channel the emotions and pain. There is a healing power about music. It is a beautiful thing to me.”

At the Special Talents America competition they will sing “Where Would You Be,” a song recorded by one of their favorite country singers, Martina McBride.

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