Ferdinand Folk Festival showcases contest finalists

From Local Sources

On Saturday, the Ferdinand Folk Festival will showcase an evening of original live music by artists from Ferdinand to California.

The culmination of months of preparation for the festival’s first singer-songwriter competition, the event will feature eight finalists in the “high school graduates and older” and two finalists in the “high school seniors and younger” divisions — all vying for a chance to open the sixth annual Ferdinand Folk Festival’s Main Stage in September.  

The juried performances are set to begin at 7 p.m. in the family-friendly community room of American Legion Post 124 in Ferdinand.  Entry will be $10.

More than 50 songs were entered in the contest from more than 25 artists from nine states — from California to New York.  

Three awards will be given at the end of the night — one for each division’s winner, and one for an overall winner.  The competition’s overall winner will be awarded the Main Stage slot at the sixth annual Ferdinand Folk Festival on Saturday, Sept. 19, and the runner-up \will be offered performance time on the Market Stage.

“This will be a unique evening for the community to host these fine artists and to promote original music,” said committee co-chair Rock Emmert.  “The folk fest was founded upon a desire to enhance our culture in fun, new, and accessible ways.  We’re hoping for a large crowd of all ages as the countdown for the folk fest begins.”

Sabrina Becher of Ferdinand and Hayley Payne of Owensboro, Ky. will perform in the high school seniors and younger division. Bethany Boeglin and Colin Hildenbrand, both of Ferdinand; Nick Berry and Rob Zaricki, both of Evansville; Nick Peay of Louisville; Stuart Englert and Michael Stovall, both of Nashville, Tenn.; and Jen Hajj of Idyllwild, Calif., will perform in the high school seniors and younger division.

The volunteer judges for the event are Tonya Buckler of New Albany, Tim Piazza of Evansville, Leah Robling of Derby, Bill Wheeler of Paoli and Andrea Wirth of Newburgh.

Buckler was born and raised in Louisville.  Her interest in music started with hearing her father play guitar and sing songs by Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and the Everly Brothers.  She taught herself guitar and began writing songs when she was 30. She fronts the band Whiskey Ginger, in which she plays acoustic guitar and authors all the songs.

Piazza is a multi-instrumentalist, former street performer and four-year veteran of the Ferdinand Folk Festival. He has introduced many songwriters to the region through more than 100 performances at his series, Concerts at the Cabin. Piazza’s passion for “handmade music” was firmly established when he helped run The Nameless Coffeehouse in Cambridge, Mass., a venue where many popular songwriters, including the Tracy Chapman and Patty Larkin, launched their careers.

Robling holds a bachelor’s degree in theater and spent many years writing and performing in Los Angeles before returning to Indiana.  She is a singer-songwriter, a founding member of the music duo Wild Mother and a professional dancer.

Wheelerl has been singing and playing guitar in Florida and southern Indiana for more than 40 years in various bands and more recently as a soloist at local venues.  He’s been a member of the Lick Creek band for more thab 21 years.  Several of his original songs can be found on the band’s three CDs.

Wirth is a local award-winning singer-songwriter who with Melanie Bozsa makes up the regional performing duo The Honey Vines.  They also own and operate Honey Vinyl Music Studio where they work mostly with children in the areas of songwriting and recording, along with basic music instruction.




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