"This band was the class of the field today, although it was clear from audience reaction and the comments of our industry judges that the overall quality of the finalists was very high this year," says Mary Anne Pollack.
"The event showed just how much up and coming talent exists in New Brunswick." The other finalists included Barrel House, from Parkindale/Forest Glen; Billy Craig & the Bailey Brothers; Casey LeBlanc, Nackawic; Red Eye Mojo, Saint John and Ryan LeBlanc from St. Andrews.
The winner of the showcase won $1000, a new set of Sabian cymbals and an opening slot in the Saturday night show at the Festival’s largest venue, the Bud Light Blues Tent.
Band leader Cesar Morales, a native of El Salvador, said the emotional win was not only important for his band, but also for the entire Fredericton Latino community.
"It’s a big deal for our community. It shows acceptance of Latin music and it shows the sounds and rhythms in our city are diversifying," said Morales, who formed the band in 1998.
"Ten years ago, I was helping load gear onto these stages and I said someday I want to perform on this platform. Today we did it," he said.
The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival introduced the Rising Stars Showcase in 2002 to provide New Brunswick bands a way of gaining exposure to new audiences and important music industry leaders attending the Festival.
Morales said his band used the Harvest showcase to make a developmental leap. "It was a great opportunity to prepare ourselves. We worked towards this and it paid off," he said.
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