Rising Stars Competition Lights Up February – by Sara King Cole, Britt Festivals Marketing Director

The third Rising Stars competition returns to South Stage Cellars each Saturday in February. With talented local music acts, the opportunity to support music education programs and great wine and food, the series provides the perfect winter pick-me-up.

Rising Stars was created by Porscha Schiller, Marketing and Events Director for South Stage Cellars, with the dual purpose of supporting local musical talent, and raising money for a local non-profit organization. Through booking entertainment for South Stage Cellars’ tasting room, Schiller knew there was an abundance of local talent, and created Rising Stars as an opportunity for those musicians to gain exposure to new audiences. Britt joined South Stage Cellars as a co-presenter last year.

Here’s how it works: Each week during the competition, three or four acts perform at South Stage Cellars’ tasting room. Audience members support their favorite performers at $2 per vote. The act with the most votes moves on to the final round of competition. All of the voting proceeds go to charity, and in 2014, they will benefit Britt’s music education and engagement programs. In two years, Rising Stars has raised about $20,000 for charity.

In the course of the competition, four acts will be selected to compete in the finals. The final night of the competition takes place Saturday, March 1 in a special evening on the Britt stage. The stage doors will be closed, and the audience will be seated on the stage along with the performers, providing an intimate, energetic evening of music. At the end of the evening, the 2014 Rising Star will be announced, decided by a combination of public voting and a panel of judges. The Rising Stars 2014 winner will perform again on the main Britt stage this summer as an opening act on the 2014 Britt schedule (pending artist approval).

Rising Stars is truly a community event, with the support of many necessary to make it a success. Jefferson Public Radio joined the project last year, and has been an active partner from the very beginning this year. The Rising Stars 2014 winner will also receive a 30-minute live in-studio performance/interview time on JPR.

Another important community partner is Jacksonville’s own Off the Wall Music, who is donating the sound system for the competition rounds.

Schiller says, “I see Rising Stars as an ideal model of community support: people, businesses and gifted artists coming together and backing each other. In Southern Oregon, we happen to have the amazing support of Britt to present an entire package. This to me is the definition of success in a local community.”

The selection process was a difficult one this year, because the number of acts was narrowed- down from 24 in 2013 to just 13 in 2014. Those 13 acts were selected from a strong pool of applicants, and the lineup introduces some new exciting acts, as well as wonderful returnees from last year. The schedule of artists includes a diverse mix of music, from folk to jazz to bluegrass to R&B.

The beneficiary of the voting proceeds this year is Britt’s music and education programs. Britt is a non-profit organization, and since 1985, the Britt Institute (Britt’s educational arm) has educated and fostered community through a variety of programs that serve all ages and skill levels. The 2014 programs include four summer camps: Britt Rock Camp, the Ukulele Getaway, Summer Jazz Institute, and Project: Beyond the Page, along with a one-day Ukulele Kids program. Britt also brings high-caliber artists into schools to work with youth, connects our community with world-class artists through master classes and Q&A’s, provides family concerts at affordable prices, supports an outstanding internship program, brings classical music into elementary schools through our Music in the Mornings listening program, and has a 25-year long partnership with Jacksonville Elementary School. In 2014 Britt is partnering with the Medford School District to launch a year-long high school internship for underserved students.

Competition rounds listed below will be at the South Stage Cellars tasting room at 125 S. 3rd Street in Jacksonville. Each night is open to the public, with no cover charge. Competition rounds begin at 5 p.m. each Saturday, with each act performing for thirty minutes (with time in between to change sets). South Stage’s selection of wine and food are available for purchase (no outside food or beverages allowed).

Competition Rounds Schedule:

February 1st
5:00pm:  Jef Ramsey
6:00pm: Brian Swan Group
7:00pm: Elias Deleault
8:00pm: The Evening Shades

February 8th
5:00pm: Not Two Shabby
6:00pm: Charles Guy & Linda Powers
7:00pm: Sage Meadows & High Country

February 15th
5:00pm: Em Harriss
6:00pm: Frankie Hernandez
and the Old Soul Parade
7:00pm: Glenn Justus

February 22nd
5:00pm: Ryan Vosika & His Banditos Yanquis
6:00pm: The Tin Man Project
7:00pm: Cee Cee James

March 1st–Final rounds, on the Britt stage: The four finalists will compete on the Britt stage in an indoor performance. Because of limited seating, there will be an admission charge of $5 per person for the final rounds. All proceeds from the admissions will be awarded to the Rising Stars winner. At the finals, food from Jacksonville Inn and beverages from South Stage Cellars will be available for purchase. No outside food or beverages allowed at this event. See the Britt web site for details on how to purchase tickets for the finals.

For the most current schedule, and more information visit www.brittfest.org, www.southstagecellars.com, or find South Stage Cellars on Facebook.

Posted January 31, 2014