Throughout the year we are always busy engaging in merchandise sales, referring accordionists to other gigs, producing a newsletter, accepting donated accordions, etc. However, the most fulfilling part of the year is the tracking of the development of our “Future Stars”. We are always looking to the future and exploring ways to get more youth involved in our local accordion culture. Through our C.A.S.S. program, and our Future Stars set on Sunday mornings, we are working to keep the youth integrated into the accordion world today and on into the future.
Our youth program starts out on Saturday, the first day of the festival, at the Church of the Oaks at 9:30am to 11:30am. It is a short walk, just a block away from the polka tent. This year the kids competed for $2,900.00 in scholarship money, everyone walking away with funds to help them continue their lessons throughout the year. It is part of the festival, so your wristband allows you entrance to check out the best in young local accordion talent. Of course, a donation is always accepted.
The winners of scholarship money were MARIO SERATAN($200.00); JENNIFER ARULDASS($300.00); Annabelle SELVARAJ($400.00); PETER SWANSON($500.00); NICHOLAS PLASICHUK($500.00/the SFAC Lou Jacklich award); and the winner of the $1,000.00 Contino Award, EVAN YUAN. .If you know of any deserving youngster who you would like to see compete, please go to www.cotatifest.com and fill out an application or refer your student to us. It should also be noted that you can also apply for funds to help mediate travel expenses in order to make the trip to Cotati less financially painful. If you have any questions please contact Scott at email@example.com.
Following the Saturday show at the Church of the Oaks one can see most of the performers again in the Jam Tent on Sunday from 11:30am to 12:30pm. The Jam Tent is now in partnership with the youth program in raising even more scholarship money.
Separate from the above listed performances, we also have The Future Stars performance. This portion of the festival takes place on Sunday morning from 9:45am to 10:15am. The Future Stars line up has become a valued tradition over the years. This past event we presented songs played by NICHOLAS PLASICHUK(age: 16), MARION SERATAN(age: 11), MICHAEL ROGERS(age:8), COLIN KENNEDY(age:12), EVAN YUAN(age: 17), LUKE STENGER(age:17(who also had a playing role in the commercial that the Smart Train people put together), GIADA FILICE(age:16), JOEY MANFREDI(age:17), and OLIVA MA(age:8).
These students are spending the year honing their craft under the tutelage of Marjorie Konrad, Big Lou, Michael Zampiceni,
And Jenny Du. Luke’s teacher was on youtube. What it would be like to be young again? The Future Stars presentation is a creation of Marjorie Konrad and she has since handed the project to Janeen Murray. Janeen has been doing a fantastic job, devoting serious hours and creativity to the event.
The whole student program is run through donations such as the $300.00 from the Los Angeles Accordion Club, the $500.00 from the San Francisco Accordion Club, the auctioning of accordions, the general donations at the Jam Tent, the $1000.00 check from Judy Contino, and the donations raised from the first event of the festival weekend. Yes, we actually begin Friday with a benefit show at the Church of the Oaks. This past festival we featured Paul Betken, Lou Dimaggio and Mario Pedone playing for us at the Church of the Oaks while raising $450.00 for the kids and their lessons. If you are interested, get in contact with Dave Noferi at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sheri Mignano at email@example.com, , or Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.