A F U N D R A I S E R P R E S E N T E D B Y C H A M P A I G N W E S T R O T A R Y
Faye Ballard has been interested in ragtime music since the age of 10 when Les Cripe, former piano player for the Harry James band, taught her how to play “Maple Leaf Rag.” Faye first entered the World Old-Time Piano Playing Championship and Festival at age 12 where she competed against the contest’s first champion, Joybelle Squibb. Faye has been a 5-time finalist in the contest and currently serves as the Contest Coordinator. Faye was also thrilled to star in the documentary made about the 2009 competition, “The Entertainers.” When she’s not busy working as an Office Manager at the University of Illinois Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Faye enjoys performing at festivals such as the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, MO and playing for her church and various local events. Faye is happy to be a part of this year’s event.
Kyle Fleming is a board certified music therapist working at Cunningham Children's Home in Urbana, who loves writing and performing original music and acoustic covers. In college, he won the campus-wide "Battle of the Unsigned Artists" two years in a row, winning "Crowd Favorite" each year. In 2015, his song "When Can I Say That I Love You" was featured on the popular podcast "Welcome to Night Vale." Most recently, Kyle performed at Porrima, an art and music showcase put on by local non-profit organization Rattle the Stars to address themes and topics related to mental illness and suicide prevention.
Contrary to its name, Fiddle Club consists of students who play more than just the fiddle, including guitar and even banjo. These local musicians have a huge following, and we are excited to have them in this year's competition!
East Central Illinois most entertaining songwriter and President of Rebelsfare Collective, Dustin Danger, has performed everywhere from bars and clubs to house parties, from military bases and laundromats to mini-golf courses, from local radio stations, television programs, and festivals to the legendary CBGB in New York City. With sounds ranging from fast silly punk to soft acoustic ballads, with elements of early rock'n'roll, folk, country, blues, & hip hop, this multi-instrumentalist showman is sure to make you smile, laugh, cry, and dance to his crafty original pieces. Dustin is a member of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL).
Dustin was born in Downers Grove IL but spent the majority of hislife in Oakwood IL. He began playing drums at age 11, then progressed to piano, guitar - he currently owns and plays a dozen types of different instruments.
Ginny (Menzer) Tabb is a former member of Champaign West Rotary. Raised in St. Joseph, she is a classically trained vocalist who performed in local talent shows and choirs as a teenager and young adult. After taking a few years off to raise her children, she became involved in praise bands and started to expand her repertoire. Currently, she sings with the acoustic group JMT Trio, which performs multiple genres, including country, pop, and classic rock, with music by Adele to ZZ Top. Ginny and her husband, Mike, are huge supporters of the local live music community, hosting an annual outdoor music festival featuring local talent in their backyard. For the CU's Got Talent performance, she is honored and privileged to be accompanied by local musician John McMahon on guitar.
Local Parrotheads may recognize Jake Tatar (left) as the founding member and former lead singer for the Boat Drunks. For our event, he has teamed up with his 15 year-old son, Jackson, who has also been bitten by the musical bug. This acoustic duo is a pair has some classics they love to sing and will have you singing along with them from your seats.
Stella started playing the harp shortly after her family's move from Minnesota to Champaign at the age of five under the tutelage of local musician Molly Madden and began singing in 2016. She was invited to sing the national anthem while playing the harp before the UI's volleyball match on Nov. 12, 2016.
These bellas are more than an entertainment act, they are a group of deaf educators, audiologists, speech language pathologists, special educators and enrichment teachers who serve children and families with hearing loss through listening and spoken language. In 2016, they were the winners of a lipsync competition through the Carle Center for Philanthropy. The event was a benefit for the Carle Auditory Oral School.
Aria has been dancing since she could walk, but she started recreational classes at Art in Motion Dance Studio when she was 18 months. When she was 4, she joined the Art in Motion competition team and has loved every minute of it. Aria won 1st place in the 8 and under division at Star Power Nationals in July, 2018. And she won 1st place at several regional competitions across Illinois, Indiana & Missouri.