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Young Musicians to Take Center Stage for Santa Barbara Middle School’s Songfest

Young musicians will be the stars Saturday at Chase Palm Park for Santa Barbara Middle School’s annual Songfest event.
Young musicians will be the stars Saturday at Chase Palm Park for Santa Barbara Middle School’s annual Songfest event. (Santa Barbara Middle School photo)

This Saturday, April 25, Santa Barbara Middle School will celebrate its 30th year showcasing music, talent, community and youthful courage at its annual Songfest event at Chase Palm Park from 2 to 5 p.m.

This musical celebration, known as Songfest, is a flagship event of Santa Barbara Middle School. It has humble beginnings, and through the years has evolved and grown into a concert-style community celebration. Last year, more than 300 people came and enjoyed a day of live music, food truck fare and beautiful sunshine at this free beachside celebration.

Ted Rhodes, a name well-known name in the local and L.A. movie production scene, has been the steadfast, passionate co-producer of this event, along with Marco Andrade, SBMS Spanish teacher, alum and passionate musician for 20 of those 30 years. For the past 18 years, the “Grateful Dads,” a dedicated group of volunteer alumni parents, have formed the backdrop and have performed backup music to support the young musicians on stage. They will be on stage again this Saturday to support the young musicians.

The spirit of SBMS Songfest this year has more of a public purpose as it opens the stage to include more Santa Barbara community youth music programs such as RockShop Academy, Girls Rock Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Youth Music Academy, New Noise and Notes for Notes. These community music groups will perform a pre-show set from noon to 2 p.m. at Chase Palm Park.

“With so many individual youth music programs in town, all of which share a common mission, it just seemed to make sense to bring these groups together, to use the power of music to educate and connect our community,” Andrade said. “There are so many key supporters for the youth music scene. Some of which include the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation and Santa Barbara Education Foundation, specifically, Rick Boller, executive director of the Santa Barbara Bowl and SBMS alumni parent, Margie Yahyavi, executive director of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, along with Harry Rabin, SBMS dad and founder of ‘Keep the Beat.’”

Andrade shares that these folks, their staff and their committees are an inspiration.

“All of these groups are excited to see the synergy of the youth music culture coalescing to form a local collective of inspired young musicians under one promisingly blue sky!” he said.

Food will be provided by local food trucks and the nonprofit Freedom4Youth, and will be available for purchase at the event.

— Sue Carmody is the community outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara Middle School.

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