Concert features area performers, benefits Oak Grove Center

Students at Oak Grove Center rehearse for "Rock the Oaks" under the direction of Kimmie Morrow. Talented performers from throu...

Students at Oak Grove Center rehearse for "Rock the Oaks" under the direction of Kimmie Morrow.

Talented performers from throughout Menifee, Murrieta and surrounding areas will join students from Oak Grove Center in Murrieta in the center’s primary fundraiser of the year, “Rock the Oaks”, Feb. 1-2 at Temecula Valley High school.

The event includes three performances, all with different performers. Shows will take place Feb. 1 and 2 beginning at 7 p.m. and Feb. 2 starting at 2 p.m. Funds raised from admission prices will help support the arts and autism programs at Oak Grove Center.

“We’re very excited about this event for a variety of reasons,” said Tammy Wilson, CEO of Oak Grove Center. “It’s our fundraiser for the arts and autism programs at Oak Grove Center. This event is our primary fundraiser to help support the visual arts, performing arts, dance, martial arts, even culinary arts.

“We’ll have three shows over two days. They all have different artists, which is kind of cool. One of the things that makes the quality really great is that the house band is the Ranch Rockers. Every year the talent gets better. A lot of the performers are known locally and regionally. Many have won awards at the West Coast Country Music Association, but it’s not just a country event.”

Performers for the three shows were recruited by Gwyn Sanborn, producer of the show and area voice coach. Friday’s 7 p.m. performance includes Brandon Smith (right), known locally as the voice of the Broncos at Vista Murrieta High School and on YouTube; JaeCe Simon, North American Music Association Entertainer of the Year for Traditional Country Music, and Hannah White, award-winning singer and songwriter.

The 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon matinee features the Oak Grove Center dance team performing a number from “Grease” and the Oak Grove performance team with a flags routine. Other performers include Bella Johnson, North American Music Association Female Gospel Artist of the Year; and the all-girls band Black Rock Candy.

Saturday’s 7 p.m. performance will feature Savannah Leighton, Female Vocalist of the Year for Bluegrass; Ryan Valenzuela (below left), semifinalist from the Boys and Girls Idol competition; Anahi Rodriguez, Santa Rosa Academy student and well-known singer in Menifee; and the house band Ranch Rockers.

Wilson said she is grateful for the support the benefit concerts provide for the work done at the Oak Grove Center.

“We treat a variety of what we call disturbances,” Wilson said about the issues Oak Grove Center students face. “What all our kids have in common is some kind of trauma in their background. Something they’re overcoming. We feel like the arts provides great opportunities, not only for them to overcome some of the past trauma and depression, but to start bonding with each other.

“Some of the kids think they’re shy. Sometimes when there’s anger and abuse issues, they turn inward and don’t consider themselves worthy. With these programs they’re able to express themselves, sometimes non-verbally but sometimes by the spoken word. Part of it is the connection with the teacher.”

Some of the students live at the center, while about 85 more are dropped off each day for instruction. Students with autism are mentored by a credential special education teacher in a class of 12.

Tickets for the performances can be purchased at www.rocktheoaks.org. Ticket prices are $20 for general admission, $10 for youth 10 and under; and $45 VIP admission to all three performances. Information on becoming a sponsor is also available at that website.

The all-girls band Black Rock Candy will performance at the Saturday matinee.


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