Ventura Music Festival

Rising Stars Concert

Rising Stars

A Free Community Concert

Friday, May 17th 8pm
First United Methodist Church
1338 E. Santa Clara Street in Ventura

An outstanding mix of young choral, classical and jazz performers at VMF’s most popular concert every year!

The Rising Stars Concert is a free event open to everyone.

Exact program to be announced.


Part One: Choral Music

The Ventura College Singers:  This audition-only ensemble, selected from the student body of Ventura College, performs in a variety of styles and genres, specializing in advanced a cappella and accompanied choral literature.

Brent Wilson, director


Part Two: Classical Performers

Caroline Canales is a 16 year old tenth grade honor student at Calabasas High School, and has performed twice with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic.  She began studying piano at age seven with Marc Macalintal, progressed to Edward Francis for several years, and has been a student of Ornela Ervin for nearly two years.  Caroline has competed successfully at several MTAC competitions and festivals. She has completed the Advanced level of Certificate of Merit with honors. In addition to music, Caroline is an accomplished tournament golfer, and competes on an international level.  In her spare time, Caroline loves to spend time with friends and family and to travel.  Caroline would like to thank Ornela Ervin, her family, the TOPhil and the Ventura Music Festival for their support of these unique music programs.

Rebecca Beerstein, 17, is in 12th grade attending Oak Park Independent School and Moorpark College.  She started violin at age four with Diana Ray-Goodman and is currently a student of Lindsay Deutsch. In the fall, Rebecca will be pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance. Rebecca has performed as soloist with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, Westlake Village Symphony and Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra. A long-time member of the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestras, Rebecca served as concertmaster of the youth orchestra for the last two years. She also performs in the eclectic Dialogues Concert Series, now in its second season in the Conejo Valley. Rebecca especially enjoys chamber music and has participated in the Junior Chamber Music program from the age nine and, last summer, studied at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Vermont.  In addition, Rebecca is an accomplished figure skater—currently a gold medalist in Moves in the Field, and is looking forward to completing her Junior and Senior Free Skate tests this year.

Elliot Kim is currently a senior at Westlake High School and has been playing the piano for 12 years. He has studied piano with Soon Seop Kim and the late Edward Francis, and is currently studying with Ornela Ervin. He would like to thank Mrs. Ervin for her guidance and encouragement. Elliot has won the MTAC Festimantic, Contemporary, and Bach competitions multiple times and has passed the Certificate of Merit Advanced level with honors. He has been featured as a soloist with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic four times. Elliot also plays the French Horn in the Westlake High School Wind Ensemble, and sings and plays the drums and guitar for the Agape Christian International Church. Academically, Elliot is a National Merit finalist, a National AP Scholar and his high school Valedictorian, and is planning on majoring in Engineering. Other than music, Elliot’s hobbies include longboarding, playing tennis, eating, and collecting pencils. He is also a big basketball fan, and his favorite team is the Toronto Raptors.


Part Three: Jazz Trio

Angelo Velasquez, the 2017 VMF Student Jazz Competition winner, is a young Los Angeles based Jazz drummer and band leader. He strives to blend styles from all over the globe in both his playing and his compositions to create a powerful and emotional musical experience. Angelo has played with the likes of Danilo Perez, Edward Simon, Rob Lockart, Brian Scanlon, Ira Nepus, Garry Pratt, Benjamin Sheppard, Dave Robaire, Garry Fukushima, Katisse Buckingham John Daversa, and Eric Marienthal. Angelo has also played at many prestigious jazz festivals and events such as the Newport Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and The Jazz at LACMA series.

Zephyr Avalon is a bassist and composer currently based in Los Angeles. Zephyr studied classical bass with Barry Green as an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Cruz, and with Darek ‘Oles’ Oleszkiewicz and Alphonso Johnson at California Institute of the Arts, where he received his MFA in Jazz Studies. Amidst a multitude of solo and collaborative projects, Zephyr is known as a reliable sideman on upright, electric and synth bass, in genres including jazz, pop, R&B, and everything between. Zephyr has performed with a multitude of Los Angeles based artists, such as the legendary saxophonist Bennie Maupin (Headhunters, Lee Morgan), and trumpeter Bobby Bradford (Ornette Coleman). Additionally, Zephyr recently performed at Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he had the unique opportunity to share the stage with renowned vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

Keelan Walters is an Award-winning jazz guitarist working in Los Angeles. He is currently is part of the Jazz Studies Department at Cal State University Northridge and is a member of the CSUN Jazz A Band. With the A band, he has toured and played in jazz festivals around the world including The Wellington Jazz Festival in New Zealand and The Monterey Jazz Festival. He was also a founding member of a CSUN born combo that were the winners of the Angel City Jazz Festival Young Artist Competition and also placed 2nd at the Monterey Next Gen Jazz Festival.


We are grateful to the following for their support:

Aera Energy LLC, Cannon Family Foundation, Julius Gius Memorial Rotary Foundation, E.J. Harrison & Sons, and Miriam Wille.