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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment August 19, 2017

5/14/2013 12:30:00 PM
Sisters songwriter to open Starry Nights concert
Jena Rickards opens the sold-out Starry Nights concert with musical partners from Nashville. photo by Jerry Baldock
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Jena Rickards opens the sold-out Starry Nights concert with musical partners from Nashville. photo by Jerry Baldock

Starry Nights auction features collectibles
A Breedlove guitar autographed by three-time Grammy-winner Keb' Mo' is among the special collectible items that will be available in a silent auction taking place at the "Starry Nights Presents Keb' Mo'" concert at Sisters High School on Saturday, May 18. Bidding will be open beginning at 6 p.m. and close fifteen minutes after the concert.

Keb' Mo' has signed a Breedlove Passport C250/Cme-FS acoustic electric guitar. It features a solid cedar top and mahogany back, integrated electronics, a built-in tuner and gig bag. The Breedlove Guitar Company is a Starry Nights sponsor and has donated the guitar.

Bidders will also have a chance to purchase song lyrics autographed by Keb' Mo'; orchestra tickets to see the Tony-nominated musical "Rock of Ages" in Portland; a stay at the beautiful House on Metolius in Camp Sherman; a one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry set by Karen Hensley; a hand-crafted wood jewelry box by local craftsman Laurence Dyer; and an exquisite quilt by master quilter Jackie Erickson of Stitchin' Post.

Golfers will have the opportunity to golf in a foursome at Black Butte Ranch with Sisters' own Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts, who will also donate a signed football. Another golf package features state-of-the-art equipment from Nike Golf.

Rodeo fans can bid on box seats to the Saturday-night performance of the Sisters Rodeo donated by Brian and Melinda Witt; reserved seats for the Sunday performance; a $100 gift certificate to Leavitt's; and a framed 2013 Sisters Rodeo poster signed by acclaimed artist Dyrk Godby.

Art collectors will have the chance to own framed pieces that have been generously donated by some of Sisters' most acclaimed artists: Kathy Deggendorfer; Norma Holmes; Chris Nelson; and Dan Rickards.

Proceeds from the Starry Nights silent auction will benefit the Sisters Schools Foundation, supporting classroom and co-curricular programs and activities in the Sisters School District. Since its inception in 1997, Starry Nights has raised more than one million dollars in net proceeds for the Sisters Schools Foundation.

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Jena Rickards' life was changed one night on the stage at Sisters High School (SHS) Auditorium. Now she's come full-circle, to open for Keb' Mo' in the sold-out 2013 Starry Nights concert on Saturday, May 18.

Rickards was a junior at SHS that night back in 2007, an Americana Project student who had developed a passion for songwriting. She was part of a student performance opening for country music superstar Vince Gill.

At the time, her ambition was to become a physical therapist.

Gill was so struck by Rickards' voice and songwriting that he encouraged her to pursue music as a vocation.

"That changed my whole path," she told The Nugget last week.

Gill became a mentor to Rickards. He encouraged her to consider studying at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she studied the business of music. She also performed and recorded her music, releasing the EP "Unearthed" in 2010 and "Lioness" in 2012. At Belmont, she was honored with the prestigious Cecil Scaife Visionary Scholarship for effectively combining her music and business skills.

Rickards, who has returned to Sisters with husband Franco Casiean, is bringing to Sisters the core musicians from her Nashville creative team.

Cody Fry's talents as a performer and creator of music have gained him acclaim and exposure at the highest levels of the music industry. The Grammy Foundation discovered his capabilities while he was still in high school and put him on stage to sing and play piano and guitar alongside Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, Michael McDonald, Jeff Beck, Kanye West, John Legend, James Moody, and Gloria Estefan at special foundation benefit concerts honoring Quincy Jones and George Martin.

Disney tapped him to participate in their "Next Big Thing" national singer- songwriter competition, which led to interviews on nationally syndicated radio programs and feature stories in the Chicago Tribune. Tribune rock critic Mark Caro described Fry's voice and music as "a rich slice of blue-eyed soul."

Niko Xidas is an independent musician and producer living in Nashville. Performing/touring with artists of varying genres and musical intensities such as Eden's Edge, Jena Rickards, Rob Blackledge, Cody Fry, Joey Hyde, Russell Dickerson and many others has helped him make a name for himself in Nashville's eclectic music scene.

The group is excited about their 30-minute opening gig with Keb' Mo'.

"They know Keb' Mo', and they're totally honored, as am I," Jena said.

"We're going to focus on the sound that we developed in Nashville," Jena explained. "We really want to give people a taste of what we've been producing and working on for the past four years. It's going to be a really beautiful meld of Sisters and Nashville."

The trio will also offer a more extended performance the evening before Starry Nights, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 17, in the courtyard at The Open Door on the corner of Hood Avenue and Oak Street. Tickets are available in advance at The Open Door; tickets will also be available at the door on the evening of the concert.

Rickards is grateful for the chance to perform again for the community that nurtured her artistic journey.

"I would like to thank (Starry Nights founder Jeri Fouts) for giving me the opportunity to do this and to play for the community in a new light," she said. "It's just a big blessing of a performance."

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