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Organizers, Supporters Keyed Up for Santa Barbara Teen Star Competition

Annual singing event kicks off with a media dinner, with auditions set to begin Thursday for the March 23 finale

By Melissa Walker, Noozhawk iSociety Columnist | @NoozhawkSociety |

The Teen Star Media Launch Dinner held at Arch Rock Fish kicked off the highly anticipated Santa Barbara Teen Star 2013 competition presented by Deckers Outdoor Corp., with a finale scheduled for March 23 at the Granada Theatre.

Santa Barbara Teen Star is a competition to discover talented teen solo singers in Santa Barbara County, and it benefits Santa Barbara County high school performing arts departments.

“Teen Star has far exceeded our expectations; the highest compliment we can receive is others wanting to bring the performing arts to their school districts,” said executive producer Joe Lambert.

The 2012 winner, Rachel La Commare, now a freshman at Westmont College, shared the joys of performing before a crowd of 1,600 last year at the Granada, when she could hear her friends calling from up in the balcony, and described a group of young girls in the front row who touched her heart.

“There was this group of six little girls, probably like sixth grade or something, and they were yelling, ‘Rachel, we voted for you, yay, yay!’” La Commare said. “And it was just the most heartwarming thing just to know that I touched each of those young girls individually, and it was just a very rewarding feeling.”

The first Teen Idol competition, in 2010, attracted 39 audition participants and the finale held at the Elings Performing Arts Center at Dos Pueblos High School welcomed more than 400 fans and supporters.

Teen Star provides aspiring young musicians a creative outlet for opportunities that otherwise might not exist locally.

Bear Redell was an eighth-grader at Los Olivos Junior High School when he won the 2011 Teen Star competition. He’s now a student at Santa Ynez High School.

“It’s given my name publicity, and I’ve been able to play things that I wouldn’t have been able to play at without Teen Star,” Redell told Noozhawk. “So I’m really happy about that.”

This year’s judges have been announced as Randy Spendlove, who oversees all aspects of music for Paramount Pictures and has worked with such artists as Beyoncé, Linkin Park, Green Day and U2; Moss Jacobs, vice president of talent for Nederlander Concerts; and radio personality Catherine Remak of K-Lite 101.7.

Santa Barbara Teen Star executive producer Joe Lambert, center, with Deckers Outdoor Corp.'s Sean Knotts and Michelle Apodaca. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)
Santa Barbara Teen Star executive producer Joe Lambert, center, with Deckers Outdoor Corp.‘s Sean Knotts and Michelle Apodaca. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

The finale event will also include pre-show red carpet introductions with its hosts, KEYT’s Paula Lopez and Noozhawk’s Melissa Walker, plus the evening’s host, JJ Lambert.

Executive producer Joe Lambert spoke of an exciting new feature for this year with past judge J.R. Richards of the band Dishwalla. He’s now doing a mentoring program with the kids in which he’s spending two hours with the 10 finalists to craft their skills, and with his fiancé, Min Reid, they’re going to videotape the process.

“It’s brand new this year,” Lambert said. “We’re going to show a video clip of the kids for 30 seconds in working with J.R., and then they’re going to be presented and start their singing.”

Last year’s event was streamed live on the Internet to great success, and California Streamin’ will provide live streaming this year that’s likely to generate a huge buzz again.

Last year had “20,000 viewers, that was huge,” Lambert said. “And it went worldwide, too. We had people emailing us in from Mexico City ... Idaho, all over the place.”

The atmosphere in the private room of Arch Rock Fish was abuzz with excitement as media representatives, event sponsors, volunteer organizers and community leaders filled the intimate space overlooking Anacapa Street for an evening of information, live entertainment and fine food.

Lin Aubuchon, left, co-executive producer of Santa Barbara Teen Star, with Catherine Remak, judge and K-Lite radio personality, at the Media Launch Dinner. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)
Lin Aubuchon, left, co-executive producer of Santa Barbara Teen Star, with Catherine Remak, judge and K-Lite radio personality, at the Media Launch Dinner. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

As attendees settled into their seats and dinner was served, the presentation began with Teen Star co-executive producer Lin Aubuchon addressing the crowd.

Aubuchon shared the schedule of events, including auditions from 3 to 7 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 21, at Righetti High School, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Dos Pueblos High School. Prizes include a $1,000 scholarship, recording in a world-class studio, radio and TV appearances, and an opening performance at Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Jackie Lambert, audition judge and co-executive producer, shared what she looks for in a contestant during an audition.

“For me, it’s a singing competition, so of course the singing comes first,” Lambert said. “But the program has grown so much and we have so many people auditioning now that I’m looking for the full package — I am looking for the performer, somebody who’s got stage presence, somebody who’s able to carry themselves through the whole year being Teen Star.”

Closing the media launch dinner was a special performance from actor Jim Carrey’s daughter, Jane, a past American Idol contestant who wowed the crowd.

Information and pre-sale discount tickets for the Santa Barbara Teen Star finale March 3 are available online at the Santa Barbara Teen Star Facebook page by clicking here and at the Granada box office.

Lambert Productions thanks the following sponsors for their generosity and support of Teen Star Santa Barbara 2013:

Deckers Outdoor Corp., Santa Barbara Sound Design, Assad Mora, DDS, and Kathy Patmore, DDS, JJ Lambert — Sotheby’s International Realty, California Streamin’, Z-94.5, K-Lite 101.7, the Santa Barbara Independent, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians,, Santa Barbara BackBeat and 99.9 KTYD.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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