Loved ones gathered in person and online last Friday to honor Jane Marczewski, the 31-year-old Christian singer who died Feb. 19. Marczewski, who went by the stage name Nightbirde, gained fame after appearing on America’s Got Talent (AGT) last summer and talking about her cancer prognosis.
Marczewski was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, and it later spread to her lungs, liver, and spine. She inspired AGT viewers with her faith and optimism, as well as her voice. Although she received the “Golden Buzzer” award for her performance, she soon withdrew from the TV competition to focus on her health.
Funeral: Jane ‘Nightbirde’ Marczewski ‘Was a Reflection of…Jesus’
Marczewski died in California, but her funeral was held near her family’s home in central Ohio. Thousands of people watched the YouTube livestream, where they heard Todd Garman, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Heath, talk about Jane’s faith in Christ. “If…our admiration for Jane stops at Jane, we’ll be missing something very major,” he said, “because Jane was a reflection of the Jesus that she loved. The reason she was so magnetic, magnanimous, others-centered, servant hearted, intentional, was because she was imitating—imperfectly—the Jesus of the Scriptures.”
Marczewski’s friend Celeste Kuriokos said, “Jesus is why [Jane] believed a painfully tragic life could still be worth living—that life could be beautiful even when the world came crashing down.”
Other friends and family members shared stories about Marczewski, recalling her magnetic personality and selfless spirit. “Jane was consistently giving,” said her brother Mitch Marczewski, “and she was consistently looking for ways to bless other people.” He recalled how she befriended disadvantaged children while attending Liberty University. Jane also served as a youth camp counselor and ministered to women in prison.
Abby Hernandez, a longtime friend who got matching heart tattoos with Marczewski, said, “I can’t help but hear her ask me, ‘Abby, how is your heart?’” She added, “I have wanted more than anything to look her face to face and tell her how much my heart is breaking since she left this earth. But instead, I’m asking God to relay that message to Jane.”
An original poem of Marczewski’s was featured on her funeral program. Titled “A Hero in Flames,” it reads: “I would like to die like Joan of Arc/ With dignity and urgency and stubbornness/ A watercolor portrait in the night/ A sight to behold, a hero in flames.”
Foundation Aims to Pay Support Forward
In Marczewski’s honor, her family has created The Nightbirde Foundation to help artists pay for cancer treatment. On a GoFundMe page, her brother Mitch writes, “The proceeds from this fund will be used to honor Jane’s memory by allowing her dream and inspiration to impact millions of others.”