2023 Tucson Folk Festival
Roger Mikulas Young Artist Showcase
April 1 -2, 2023
WILDFLOWER STAGE at Jacome Plaza – Presented by Bookmans
The Young Artist Stage is an annual showcase at the Tucson Folk Festival open to anyone 18 years or younger. A great opportunity for young, up-and-coming musicians, the showcase is a fun and welcoming environment that offers a chance to gain performance experience on a professional stage at a popular community event! The tradition is named in honor of Roger Mikulas, who was a strong supporter and one of the founders of the Young Artist Stage in 2006. Organized today by Board Member Ron Pandy, the showcase continues to showcase some of Tucson’s youngest and most promising musicians.
This year’s festival features an incredible line-up of young performers for the Roger Mikulas Young Artist Showcase! It is important for a folk festival to have a program for young musicians designed for growth and self-discovery. Our aim is to nurture musicians in the community and provide career stepping stones so they may one day lend their voices to inspire a younger generation.
Saturday, April 1, 2023
|12:00 PM – 2:00 PM||Songwriters in the Round|
|2:00 PM||Grace Lorring|
|2:30 PM||Aubrey Hadley|
|3:00 PM||Hans Mayer (Family Show Headliner)|
|4:00 PM||Gwen Ryan|
|5:00 PM||Max & Ben|
|5:30 PM||Bella Alam|
Sunday, April 2, 2023
|11:30 AM – 2:30 PM||Inner Voice Studio: Julia Jonas, Ashley Hanks, Fida Bijin, Larkyn Foster, Alana Ortiz, Tyler O’Masta, Avani Bhalla, Chloe Geisel, Jonah Plemons, Naomi Sarando, Emma Lock, Ella Bailey|
|2:30 PM||Mikayla Williams|
|3:00 PM – 4 PM||Hans Mayer (Family Show Headliner)|
|4:00 PM||Zaylie Windsor|
|4:30 PM||Mikaela Milczarek|
|5:00 PM||Ava Gascho|
|5:30 PM||Ayla Moreno|
|6:00 PM||Magic Voice Studio|
FAMILY SHOW BIOS
Hans Mayer (Family Show Headliner, Presented by Bookmans)
His ear-tickling, infectious music captures the tales of real-life childhood and brings it all back to life with an irresistible sense of humor. Hans’ mellow voice and accomplished playing (guitar, mandolin, bass, and Native American ﬂute) adds to the musical feast.
YOUNG ARTIST BIOS
Isabella (Bella) Alam is a 16 year old senior at BASIS Oro Valley and lives in Oro Valley, Arizona. She has been playing guitar and singing for the last four years and was a featured Young Artist at the Tucson Folk Festival 2022. She listens to folk music, pop, rock, indie, and Broadway music.
Silly Bean, aka Ava Gascho, is 18 years old, singer-songwriter and Tucson native. Her music is led by the ukulele and is a natural antidepressant. Her debut EP was released locally and in Europe in May of 2022. Her name may sound silly but she’s dead serious.
Aubrey is an 9 year old young artist who has been playing acoustic guitar with vocals since she was 6 years old. She is in 3rd grade at Tanque Verde Elementary School. She plays folk-style acoustic guitar and vocals with strumming and 3-finger picking. She has trained with Tucson’s own Allegro School of Music and performed at several Allegro recitals. She shared her love of acoustic guitar and folk music with her grandfather who introduced her to the instrument. She also explores song writing and has written several of her own songs for guitar with vocal.
Erin Reaves, also known as, Lizzie, is a performing songwriter based in Tucson, Arizona. Along with her band Anura, they have been invited to play locally in respected venues such as Club Congress and Monterey Court. Recently Erin and popular local band leader, Adrian Negrete of award winning teen band Znora have formed a duo called Adrian and Erin. As writing partners and well established performers, they are certainly a duo to keep an eye out for. Under the stage name “Lizzie”, Erin will soon be releasing an EP of her original music produced by songwriter/producer aficionado, Stuart Oliver.
Max & Ben
An extremely entertaining duo, Maxine Fabregas and Ben Bjorgo are both 16 and attend Canyon del Oro High School in Oro Valley. They are both multi-instrumentalists including acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and cajon, amongst others. They’ve been invited to play local venues such as Hotel Congress, Monterey Court and more. Their musical interests include The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac and The Doors.
Grace Lorring is 11 years old and has been playing violin since she was 4 years old. She is happy to be playing again at the Tucson Folk Festival.. She enjoys contortion and aerial silks. Her 9 year old brother Nick will be joining her for a few songs. Nick loves to play the violin and also does Kung Fu.
Mikaela Milczarek is a 15 year old singer and guitar player who has been performing and studying music since she was 5. Her music is driven by her melodic voice and finger picking. She’s influenced by jazz, indie rock, folk and pop.
Nicandro is a 16-year-old singer-songwriter from Tucson, Arizona. Nicandro began playing piano at five, drums at seven and picked up a guitar at ten, and never looked back. He has played professionally since he was 13 at local businesses, weddings, and fundraisers. In August, Nicandro performed for the Arizona Arts Live. He was one of the youngest ever Tucson Studio guests to perform on the Centennial Hall Stage. Nicandro is an honors student and hopes to attend the University of Arizona to study music and film.
Ayla started playing the piano and violin at the age of 3 and currently she studies piano with Dr. Svetlana Arakelova and violin with Dr. Laura Tagawa. Ayla has been invited to perform at various venues including the Japanese Festival, Tucson Folk Festival, Tucson Youth Showcase and more. Ayla has earned numerous awards including many first prizes from local and also international competitions (Civic Orchestra, TSO, TMTA, ASMTA, SASO, Arizona Young Artist Competition, Bay Area piano competition and international instrumental performance competition in Poland). She also is a first prize winner at the American Protégé Competition and was invited to perform at the Carnegie Hall. Her first performance as a soloist with an orchestra was when she was 6 and she performed the Berkovich piano concerto with the Tucson Civic Orchestra then later she also performed the Mozart Piano Concerto with SASO and TRO and the Bach violin concerto with TRO. Other than music, she enjoys dancing (she enjoyed performing the Nutcracker), painting, Math and Science.
Gwen Ryan is excited to be on stage at her second Tucson Folk Festival. Gwen plays guitar, keyboards, saxophone, drums and joined the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Composer Program in 2022. Today, Gwen will play a wide array of covers from The Beatles, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Shawn Mendes and No Doubt. She uploads some of her covers to her YouTube channel called Gwen’s Version – @GwenRyan.
Mikayla Williams is a 17 year old singer-songwriter from Tucson, Arizona. She has been writing songs since the age of 12 and performing around Tucson since the age of 13. Her love of music is inspired by Alec Benjamin, Counting Crows, and the Backseat Lovers.
Zaylie Windsor is 16 years old and has been singing and performing since she was 12 years old. Her favorite instrument to play is guitar, but she also plays the bass, piano, and ukulele. Zaylie attends EAC where she studies music and the arts. You can find her on Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, and Youtube.
Magic Voice Studio
For over 25 years the Magic Voice Studio, under the tutelage of Stephanie Fox, has produced singers of the highest quality. Currently teaching students from age 7 – 75, “Stevie” has exposed her students to dozens of performing opportunities and many styles of music. At the Tucson Folk Festival, MVS has performed standard American folk music, International folk music from around the world in many languages, Italian folk songs and this year it is a pleasure to return with a group of students doing a tribute to Simon and Garfunkel.
The Inner Voice Studio
The Inner Voice Studio is a national studio run by its founder and Master Teacher, Kaitlin Bertenshaw. The Inner Voice Studio trains singers all over the country in musical theater, pop and classical style singing. Follow us on instagram or tiktok @theinnervoicestudio to see what the studio is all about and for singing and technique tips or if you want voice lessons. We love helping singers achieve their dreams with solid technique and a supportive community.
Inner Voice: Julia Jonas
Hello, my name is Julia Jonas. I’m currently a junior in high school and a member of the Advanced Treble Choir and Chamber choir of Catalina Foothills High School. While I’ve been in choir since middle school, I’ve had the pleasure of being Kaitlin’s student for years now. With Kaitlin’s guidance, I’ve been able to practice singing in styles such as classical, jazz, musical theater, and some pop.
Inner Voice: Ashley Hanks
Ashley Hanks is currently a junior at Ironwood Ridge High School. She spends her time largely in musical theater and has been singing with The Inner Voice Studio for over a year. Outside of music, Ashley loves dance, hiking, math and being with friends.
Inner Voice: Fida Bijin
My name is Fida Bijin and I am a senior in high school. My passion for singing began at a very young age and it continues to grow. I love musical theater and opera and I like to spend my free time reading or playing with my little brother
Inner Voice: Larkyn Foster
Larkyn Foster is a 16 year old junior at University High School. She has been participating in musical theatre since she was 6 years old. She has performed in over 20 musicals and loves to sing, dance, and act, and is so excited for this opportunity that allows her to step out of her comfort zone.
Inner Voice: Alana Ortiz
Alana is a junior in high school who has always loved music. She has been singing since she was 6 and has always had a passion for performing. She is so grateful to be able to perform at the Tucson Folk Festival
Inner Voice: Tyler O’Masta
I like reading, I’m 16, I like art, I have a cat named maple. I am in my junior year at Saint Gregory.
Inner Voice: Avanni Bhalla
Hi! My name is Avanni Bhalla. I am 15 years old, and I go to Tanque Verde High School. I have been singing at the Inner Voice Studio for just about three years and I love it every day!
Inner Voice: Chloe Geisel
My name is Chloe Geisel and I’m in the sixth grade. In September I’m going to be turning 13. When I grow up I want to be either a Neurosurgeon or Lawyer. My goal is to get into Salpointe High School or University High, graduate, then get into an Ivy League school.
Inner Voice: Jonah Plemons
Jonah is an 8th grader at Doolen Middle School. She loves musical theatre and singing in the Tucson Girls Chorus. She recently started singing with the Inner Voice Studio and is loving it!
Inner Voice: Naomi Sarando
Naomi Sarando is a senior and has been singing for a long time. Starting musical theater in fifth grade she has had a growing love for music and acting. Additionally she is a lover of art and loves painting and drawing in her spare time.
Inner Voice: Emma Lock
Hello! I am Emma Lock, and I am a big musical theatre kid. I have been in several shows, but this is my first concert! Hope you enjoy and thank you for taking the time to listen!
Inner Voice: Ella Bailey
Ella grew up in Alaska and showed her love for singing and performing at a young age. After moving to Arizona, Ella has continued to pursue singing and learning guitar. When she’s not singing, she loves playing soccer and going shopping.
ROGER MIKULAS: Roger Mikulas was a strong supporter and one of the originators of the Young Artist Stage that began in 2006 at the Tucson Folk Festival. He also helped organize and participated in a Music in the Schools Band. The band played for elementary school children in Tucson, introducing them to folk instruments and folk music. Unfortunately, Roger fell and suffered a serious injury while setting up the Young Artist Stage and never fully recovered. After this happened, he set up the Mikulas Musicians Fund, which lends assistance to Tucson musicians who have health problems that interfere with their ability to play music. He passed away in 2010. However, he had a larger-than-life spirit that is still remembered and still inspires the provision and teaching of folk music for young people.