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Singer Renae Leads Assembly Of Talent
Local songwriter and singer Rachel Renae led an assembly of local musical talent on the Plaza Del Rio stage in downtown Riverbank on Saturday afternoon.

Organizers said it was a pity that community attendance did not match the talent. It was noticeably sparse until after 4 p.m. when the heat began to drop a little and a few more people straggled in. Organizer Joey Huestis said the event faced competition from two festivals in Modesto that same day.

Zumba devotees drawn from the Riverbank aerobics class sponsored by the city recreation department kicked off the affair with a vigorous demonstration to their Latin and international beat.

Riverbank High seniors Alisha Borges and Nikki Garcia followed with Spanish songs and guitar playing. Both are Oakdale residents.

Dallas Martin, a male belly dancer, then took the stage. Martin is a 19-year-old from Modesto who studied tap, ballet and jazz as a child and took up belly dancing in his high school sophomore year. He performs regularly at Modesto Junior College and Beirut Falafel Hut.

Drew Blum, a 25-year-old singer and songwriter from Modesto who performs all his own material, and is the lead vocalist, played guitar as he performed with Josh Rosenblum on bass and Cedric Jones on drums. Blum currently performs at the Queen Bean Restaurant every Sunday, Barking Dog Saloon Thursdays and Modesto Dixieland Society at the Clarion Hotel every third Sunday of the month.

Candace, a belly dancer from Modesto, has been dancing eight years after seeing a Shakira video and taking classes with Amira Alabina of Modesto. Available to perform at restaurants, festivals and private parties, she recently danced at the Los Angeles Music Awards Showcase.

A native of Riverbank who still lives here today, headliner Rachel Renae performed several of her own songs and those of other musicians. A winner of the Modesto Area Music Awards in 2009, she has now been nominated for the Los Angeles Music Awards for best female singer songwriter of the year and is the only nominee from Northern California.

For fans that will vote for her in person on Oct. 7 at Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles, she's raising money to charter a Storer bus. The cost to go along will be $25 including entrance to the club.

Renae will also play at the Cheese & Wine Expo this coming weekend, not on stage, but at the 'Dotty Nygard For Council' election headquarters next to Pizza Plus. For more information call Renae at 409-7020.

Youngest singer performing on Saturday was 11-year-old Bella Marseline, who is an honors student at Daniel Savage School in Modesto. She has performed at the Gallo Arts Center, Turlock Youth Performing Arts and at the Little Opera Hall in downtown Modesto.

Making a stage debut as a musician and singer on Saturday was Alex Lucero of Oakdale, who this past summer played the lead in "The Music Man" for the YES, Youth Entertainment Stage, Company in Modesto. Having learned the guitar so he can complement his singing, he performed with his friend Johnny Shatswell on the drums.