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New concert series on PBS features faculty, alumni

August 26, 2011

Eight, Arizona PBS presents Songwriters’ Showcase

Arizona songwriters who regularly play their original music in front of large crowds in Tempe will increase their reach as Eight, Arizona PBS presents Songwriters’ Showcase at the Tempe Center for the Arts, airing at 10:30 p.m., on consecutive Saturdays, beginning Sept. 3. The programs, which will lead into the popular music series Austin City Limits, will feature performance clips and interviews with songwriters.

Highlighting the series is the Oct. 1 broadcast of AmeriCamera, a unique conversation blending poetry and music conceived by ASU English Professor T.R. Hummer and international band leader Billy Cioffi, a graduate student in the School of English.

Among the instructors performing in the series is ASU School of Life Sciences professor Robby Roberson, who spent his first semester at college as a music major. He was never able to read music, so he pursued a major in biology. Roberson plays regularly at local venues, benefits and music festivals and was selected as a finalist in the Singer/Song Writer Competition at the 2010 Tucson Folk Festival.

Recent ASU graduate Paulina Vo, who decided to make her own music when she grew tired of singing other artists’ songs, appears in the first broadcast. She has been writing music since she was eight years old and picked up the guitar when she was ten. Her works include acoustic soulful pieces, some rhythm & blues and a few hip hop tracks.

Longtime Tempe musician Walt Richardson hosts the television series, which is produced by Tempe 11. The Songwriters’ Showcase is a biannual concert series featuring Arizona songwriters, who join a headliner with state ties for a night of original music. Professional production support and education outreach are part of the overall experience

Sept. 3: Songwriters Paulina Vo, Justin Olson, Cottonwood Stone and Dirty Lingo.

Sept. 10: Songwriters AJ Odneal, Daniel Coon, Cali Rodi and Kris Nelson.

Sept. 17: Songwriters Steven Fontenot, Teneia Sanders and Robby Roberson.

Sept. 24: Songwriters Jason Messer, Alisse Garn and Jeremy Clayton.

Oct. 1: AmeriCamera, a unique mixture of original music and poetry by international band leader Billy Cioffi and renowned poet T.R. Hummer.

For more information, visit the Eight online newsroom or contact Mark Harms at