The Valley’s rising stars shined bright Saturday at Rock the Oaks concert — a benefit for arts and autism. This year’s performances offered a mix of country, rock, pop, and blues, folk and comedic acts.
Oak Grove Center for Performing Arts Director and Executive Producer for Rock the Oaks Gwyn Sanborn said she was thrilled to allow more than just country music into this year’s concert.
“I am overwhelmed at how well everything turned out,” said Sanborn. “I am so gracious for New Covenant letting us use their stage.”
More than 200 people attended the afternoon show and more than 350 for the evening performance.
“The proceeds from this weekend’s shows will help with Oak Grove’s art program and, in particular, the acoustics for the new gym,” said Tammy Wilson, Oak Grove Center CEO.
Founded in 1989, Oak Grove is a non-profit offering 24-hour residential and educational treatment of children with a variety of mental, psychological, social, emotional, behavioral needs, family dysfunction and substance abuse.
The organization uses the arts to help children work through their emotions.
Many of the performers use singing, songwriting and playing music as an outlet and they encourage the students at Oak Grove to do the same.
Rock the Oaks proceeds will go towards the Arts and Autism programs at the Oak Grove Center.
Wilson said the musical artists who wanted to offer their time to support the center has been amazing.
“The talent keeps getting better every year,” said Wilson.
There were three separate shows spanning over Friday and Saturday with 45 local and regional performers taking the stage to help raise funds for the Oak Grove Center.
Saturday evening local favorites who performed included 20-year old Alaina Blair a singer/songwriter who signed with Opus 1 music as part of their Emerging Artist Series, placing her music on film and TV for licensing.
Blair is looking forward to her music being played on the radio.
Blair has been supporting the Oak Grove Center for four years and got involved with the school through Sanborn her vocal and performance coach.
“The difference the school makes in the children is amazing,” said Blair.
Singer Carly Menlo, 20, has helped raise funds for the center since she was in high school.
“The school teaches the kids to fill their time with music. It’s what I do and it’s awesome that the kids are able to at Oak Grove,” said Menlo.
“The entire show was fantastic,” said Temecula resident Robert Camerota. Camerota has twin daughters with autism and said he attends multiple Broadway shows a year and appreciates a good performance.
“I would pay a lot more than $20 a ticket to see the talent I saw tonight. I bought six tickets this year. I think next year I may buy 30 and invite a lot of people,” said Camerota.
Other local artists who performed included, Melanie Joe a singer/songwriter who is the 2012 North American Country Music Association’s “Most Promising Female Vocalist (Adult Bluegrass). Joe has two songs, “Heart of Paper” and “The Rebound Song” that are distributed worldwide through iTunes, Amazon and Wal-Mart.
Murrieta singer/songwriter Ashley Zavala who recorded her first album in 2011 called “Gilded Butterflies” and is currently recording new material also showcased her talent.
On Friday, the bluegrass alternative mixed band The Brewer Boys, who appeared last year on “The X Factor,” rocked the stage. The band recently returned from an international tour of mall events.
“I really want to give thanks to our supporters,” said Wilson. Some of the supporters Wilson mentioned included Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Pala Casino Spa Resort and New Covenant Church.
To learn more, visit www.oakgrovecenter.org.
Michelle Mears-Gerst is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.