Creativity flows through Wimberley as freely as the crystal waters that bubble from Jacob’s Well. And the talent pool knows no age limits here: seasoned artists and musicians are joined by youths who have enthusiastically refined their craft to become polished performers.
In celebration of young talent, for our 2004 fall kick-off concert, September 12, the Wimberley Concert Association will feature a stellar group of local musicians — all under the age of eighteen.
Sarah Jarosz is 13 years old and is in the 8th grade at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. She has been singing and playing mandolin since the winter of 2001. Sarah has performed onstage with: “The David Grisman Quintet”; “Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder”; “Blue Highway”; Chris Thile; and with Billy and Bryn Bright and “The Two High String Band,” among others. Contemporary bluegrass legend Pete Wernick invited her to be part of a select group of young musicians known as “The Young American Bluegrass Idols” who performed at the 2003 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Ceremony and Fan Fest in Louisville, KY. The awards ceremony, hosted by Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski, was radio broadcast nationally and internationally. Sarah performed at the RockyGrass festival in Lyons, CO in 2003 and 2004. She performed at the Old Settler’s Music Festival in Austin in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
This summer, Sarah was awarded a scholarship to attend a “Mandolin Symposium” at the University of California at Santa Cruz where her teachers were David Grisman, Mike Marshall, Chris Thile, Mike Compton, Don Stiernberg, and Radim Zenkl. She was accepted into the Master Level Class after submitting an audition tape and letters of recommendation. Sarah currently performs around Central Texas in the band “Sarah Jarosz and BlueEyedGrass,” which includes her mother, Mary, and other friends from the Friday bluegrass/old-time/acoustic jam at Charlie’s Restaurant in Wimberley. For our WCA event, she'll blaze through a set of bluegrass that will knock your socks off!
Jazz guitarist Alex Meek is 17 years old, and a student at Katherine Ann Porter School in Wimberley. He began playing guitar when he was eight and has just returned from an intensive five-week summer program at Berklee College of Music. This was Alex’s second summer to attend Berklee, where he studies performance, music theory, composition, harmony, and song writing. Berklee is considered to be one of the best schools of jazz in the world and has a large number of international students. Alex has performed at Texas State University, The Wimberley Tavern, The Blanco Rose, and Cypress Creek Café, and in two student concerts at Berklee College. He has spent countless hours studying music theory, technique, and performance.
Alex plans to pursue a degree in music after high school graduation this year. He intends to be a concert and studio musician. For his WCA appearance, Alex will perform a set of Gypsy Swing, an older and lesser-known form of jazz, made popular in the 1930’s by the great Django Reinhardt.
Singer-songwriter Sahara Smith is sixteen years old, and a student at Wimberley High School. She has written poetry since she was very young. When Sahara was 12 she composed her first folk song, "Rite of Passage," and has now composed and copyrighted over 20 songs. Sahara creates her own sound, drawing on influences as diverse as Celtic ballads and '60s rock. In early 2003, she began to perform regularly in venues in Wimberley and Bastrop. The following summer, Sahara was invited by the "Blue Fish" collective to perform at music festivals held at Blue Hole, Little Arkansas, and Jacob's Well, and at the Victorian Christmas celebration on 6th street in Austin. She was also a popular performer on public radio station KUT’s “Folkways” program. In May of 2004, Sahara was hand-selected from hundreds of applicants by radio host Garrison Keillor, to perform her original songs for the “Prairie Home Companion Twelve-to-Twenty” talent show on National Public Radio. Of the six finalist acts on the program, which was broadcast nationally and internationally, Sahara received the second-place trophy. Following her performance, there was a flurry of interest in her music, with listeners across the nation seeking out recordings of her songs. One fan wrote, “I was driving along in my car when she started to play, and before the end of the first verse, I had to pull over to devote my entire attention to her beautiful song. I was immediately reminded of a young Joni Mitchell… We will definitely be hearing more from this amazingly talented singer/songwriter/guitarist in the future.” Sahara is currently working on a CD with guitarist Kate McLennan. She will sing and play a selection of her haunting, original compositions for us.
“Ellen's Brother” is a Wimberley band which was formed in the fall of 2003 by singer-songwriter Ellen Flocke, who is seventeen. Ellen began studying piano at age 10, writing songs at age 12, studying voice at 13 and guitar at 14. On her 15th birthday she received an electric guitar and discovered her true passion: playing electric guitar and singing her original songs. She has been performing for the past year and half in the monthly Young Artist Performance Incubator (YAPI). In the fall of 2003, Ellen teamed up with Allison Lockett (17) and taught her to play bass. The two performed as a duo at YAPI for several months before adding Carl Flocke (14) on drums as an official band member. Walker Pickens (14) was added to the band on keyboard in the spring of 2004. Walker studies guitar and voice as well as piano, and has started writing his own songs. Walker has performed monthly at YAPI as a solo act, as well as with Ellen’s Brother. All of the members of Ellen’s Brother attend Wimberley High School.
Ellen Flocke was the recipient of the 2004 YAPI award, for which she had the opportunity to record a demo CD in May of 2004, with all the members of the band. For our WCA showcase, Ellen’s Brother will perform original material, primarily written by Ellen, who writes in a power-pop style.
The Wimberley Concert Association’s Young Artist Showcase is Sunday, September 12, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Chapel in the Hills Fellowship Hall, 14601 RR 12 North (next to Bowen Intermediate). In addition to music, an interactive art exhibit will be on display, with artwork from local youth. Local young artists were asked to listen to a selection of music and interpret it visually. You will be able to hear the music as you view their artwork. Admission to the event is free for all, and donations will be accepted. Please join us for this exciting celebration, and encourage these young, local artists! All proceeds from the 2004-2005 WCA concert season will go to scholarships for music education for Wimberley youth.
Click here to visit the WCA