2021 Tucson Folk Festival
Roger Mikulas Young Artist Showcase
SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 10 AM – 1 PM
CENTENNIAL HALL STAGE – Presented by Arizona Arts Live
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! The show takes place without an-in-person audience at Centennial Hall at the University of Arizona, with a live broadcast. These young performers will have the chance to perform on one of Arizona’s largest and most historic stages! 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.
10:00 am Cobalt Sunset
Corbyn Cleaveland (13 yrs. old) and Adrian Negrete (14 yrs. old) bring an eclectic mix of their favorite genres and styles together in harmony. They enjoy playing blues, country, and rock. They are honored to be playing at the folk festival and are delighted to be on the stage again sharing their soulful, unique covers.
10:45 am Nicandro Guereque
Nicandro is a young, local, singer, songwriter. Up until March of 2020, Nic played weekly at the Hotel McCoy, a mid-century modern art boutique hotel in Tucson. Nicando’s influences include Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Jim Croce. A natural songwriter, Nic loves composing music and has recently recorded a score for a commercial and looks forward to returning to the studio in the Fall to record some of his original songs. Nic is so excited to be returning to the Tucson Folk Festival this year and can’t wait to get back on the live stage later this year.
11:30 am Ayla Moreno
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.
12:15 pm Ron Pandy Family Show
Throw out the rules when Ron Pandy hits the stage! A dad with an open mind and a sense of humor, Ron gets all ages out of their chairs fully participating in movement and spirited music. There are just some things about being a kid that remain the same through time and he makes those memories the ingredients of his show. Whether it’s finding a lost dog or learning how to spell chicken, he reminds us of the moral compass of child raising. Ron was the director of the children’s show for the Tucson Folk Festival for the first dozen or so years so he is ecstatic to be going back to his roots! If you’re between the ages of 3 to 90 you will enjoy this show! With Arlene Schadel on backup vocals, the songs take us back to a mirror of our own childhood. A memorable experience for all ages!
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.