PUBLISHED: 5:35 PM on Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Summer concerts get locals in the music groove
Summer has begun in Juneau, and locals celebrate with Concerts in the Park and Concerts on Campus, arranged by Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. Audiences can enjoy performances from musicians, dancers, singers, theatrical actors and more.

The concerts are emceed by hosts including Jeff Brown and Collette Costa.

Concerts in the Park are held at Marine Park, running from 7-8:30 p.m. each Friday through Aug. 10. Last Friday, Salsa Borealis and Rumbalaska Dancers performed, offering their exciting vibe.

"They're the heart and soul of the salsa community," JAHC program director Kari Groven said, concerning performers/instructors Heather Haugland and Antonio Diaz.

Photo by Abby LaForce
  Kit, left, and her accompaniment Steve Wild, will perform in the Concerts on Campus and Concerts in the Park this summer. Kit's mother, Karen, in the hooded sweatshirt, is her No. 1 fan. Kit & Steve's will next play at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Concerts on Campus and Friday, July 20, at Concerts in the Park.
On Friday, June 22 the band Fleet Street will perform; look for the belly dancing group Patshiva, performer Carl Reese and Woosh.ji.een Dance group the following Friday, June 29.

A new addition to the summer music buzz is Concerts on Campus, at the Noyes Pavilion on the UAS Campus. The concerts are held from 7-8:30 p.m. every Saturday through July 21.

"This is a wonderful tradition for the community, and we're really excited," JAHC executive director Nancy DeCherney said.

"I think the addition of the campus is a great opportunity," she said.

She hopes Concerts on Campus becomes just as much of a tradition as the park concerts.

Performing last weekend was The Treadwell Two and the fresh talent of "Kit and Steve," featuring vocal talents of Kit, an 11-year-old girl.

The singer, who prefers to go by "Kit," has been singing professionally since she was eight.

"It's my middle name; it just seems to fit better," Kit said.

"I could sing before I could talk, that's what my mom said," she said.

Accompanied by Steve Wild, a musician from Nashville, Tenn., who plays a three-quarter size epaphone acoustic guitar, has been coaching Kit along. He has 37 years experience in the music business, and recorded his first CD at 17.

"He's always there for me," she said.

In addition to singing, Kit also plays the piano and cello.

She takes one cello class at Floyd Dryden High School; Kit is home schooled and taking correspondence currently.

"I like all types of music. My best ones are classical and choir music. I like jazz as well," she said.

For Kit, jazz music is the most challenging genre.

"Sometimes you've got to improvise, it seems real easy when you listen to it but when you do it it's real hard," she said.

"I have a pretty big range but most of the time I use my soprano voice. In the choir I'm normally put as a soprano."

Wild can also be seen performing every Wednesday and Thursday at Doc Waters at 8:30 p.m. with his band Flatlands, which play folk inspired tunes.

Wild plays the slide guitar, and sounds a lot like Willie Nelson, Kit said.

The busy young singer practices around two to three hours a day, participates in the Alaska Youth Choir and also takes voice coach lessons, which she started six months ago with teacher Kari Groven.

"I sing all the time, it just makes me happy," she said.

This year, Kit and Steve performed in the Alaska Folk Festival; it was her first time. The experience was so exciting for her family that Kit's mother had special shirts made up for the group, one titled "Alaska's Kit #1 fan."

Her family has been very supportive of the singer.

Her mother, Karen, has rewritten songs especially for Kit, including a rewrite of, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," to "I Left my Heart in Juneau, Alaska."

Juneau is full of connections, and Wild happens to be Groven's flatmate.

"I used to hear Kit from the room (during lessons), and I would say, 'wow, that girl is talented,'" Wild said.

Eventually, Groven asked Wild to be Kit's backup for the Folk Festival.

"We finally met, and it worked out real well," Wild said.

"And, we've been playing ever since!" Kit said.

"She's the most self-confident performer I've ever worked with," Wild said.

The last time Kit remembers being nervous was in kindergarten at a talent show.

"You've got to believe in yourself or you will never take yourself to the level you want to go," Kit said.

In addition to Concerts on Campus and Concerts in the Park, Kit and Steve have performed at the Island Pub, a wedding and other events.

They're available for hire, and may work with other local bands but nothing is definite.

Kit has performed for the Legislature, after hearing her sing on the radio during the "Turning of the Tide" show.

"She's starting to get a lot of attention with local bands," Wild said.

They plan on recording CDs in the future.

"My dream is to be a singer, and I've had that dream since I was little, and that's never changed," Kit said.

"Some people say 'I want to be famous,' that's not my goal. My goal is to make other people happy like John Denver, Julie Andrews and Dolly Parton-they make me feel all good inside and I want to do that to other people."