Rising Stars: Giving a Voice to Children in Need

, Posted: Sat, March 17 2012 at 1:02 AM, Updated: Sat, March 17 2012 at 1:22 AM

A local winery is giving a voice to children by showcasing the voices of local rising stars.  It's no typical fundraiser.  Think Rogue Valley  "American Idol" meets fundraiser for kids in need.  NBC5's Laura Cavanaugh reports.

Ashland's own Adey Bell has been playing piano and performing music for 23 years.

"My parents were concert organists and choir directors.  I've been singing as long as i could stand," says Bell.

The singer/songwriter is classically trained, bridging that world with jazz, blues and folk music. The female virtuoso has performed in venues across the West Coast.  But on this night, she tickles the keys and warms the souls of fans in Jacksonville at South Stage Cellars.

"I'm here to support Adey's music," says Carrie Zoll.

Fans who appreciate good music and supporting a good cause.      Bell is one of 28 contestants in the Rogue Valley's "Rising Stars" music competition. 

 "I wanted everyone to hear the local voices and when we paired it with CASA, the child that doesn't have a voice and CASA does give that child a voice, I knew it was a perfect pairing," says Porscha Schiller, Marketing Director for South Stage Cellars.

It's a weekly event showcasing local performers.  And the winner could get his or her next big break and a substantial prize package.

"The winner gets to go to Britt Festival and play at Britt, win $700 cash, get gift certificates to Guitar Center, Harry and David and a recording from Blackstone Audio," says Schiller.

Here's how it works:  four semi-finalists perform each Saturday  over the next eight weeks.   Guests place their vote in person to vote for People's Choice.

"It's $2 a vote and you can vote as many times as you want," notes Schiller.

All proceeds benefit CASA of Jackson County and foster children throughout the Rogue Valley.

"It raises funds for CASA, which helps abused and neglected children. So that is the win-win," says Jennifer Mylenek, Executive Director of CASA of Jackson County.

In the first week alone, South Stage raised nearly $800 that goes directly to Court Appointed Special Advocates, those who are often the one constant in the life of a foster child in the court system.

"Children are 99.8% less likely to experience re-abuse if they have a CASA," says Mylenek. "It goes a long way.  What one CASA can do for one child is completely life-changing."

What may also be life-changing is the exposure and potential fan base from the opportunity to compete in "Rising Stars," which takes place on Saturdays at South Stage Cellars.  The next showcase will be March 24th.  The finals will be held this Memorial Day weekend. 

To find out more about CASA, you can log on to jacksoncountycasa.org  or to find out the schedule of how you can catch these budding local artists, you can check out South Stage Cellars' Facebook page.

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