The Leeds Downtown Folk Festival and John Henry Celebration will showcase a variety of exceptional local talent during their annual event this year. In addition to professional and semi-professional musicians, the festival has also tapped a handful of talented youngsters from across the county to bring fun and entertainment to the stages.


Twelve-year-old Jameson Willis will sing at 2 pm on Saturday, Sept. 17. He attends Duran South Junior High School in Pell City. His passion is singing and acting. He performs regularly at churches across Alabama and at many community and charitable events. Jameson has won talent competitions, including Pell City Idol, Attalla Idol and, most recently, Alabama's Got Talent 2010. He was featured on the Rachael Ray Show's most talent kids episode.


Sixteen-year-old Shelby Duke will sing on Saturday, Sept 17, at 11 am at the Gazebo stage at the corner of 9th Street and Parkway Drive in downtown Leeds and at 3 pm at the Arbor stage at 8th Street and Parkway Drive. Shelby is a junior at Pell City High School, a member of the Theatre Department and a recent inductee into the Thespian Society. Her most recent theatrical role was as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She has been in productions at the Leeds Theatre and Arts Center and is a regular in its annual variety show. Shel also sings at area festivals and charity fundraisers.  An award-winning performer, Shelby began singing in public when she was 8 years old, getting her start by performing at area nursing homes and senior centers.


Maliha Alzvart, a 17-year-old vocalist from Pell City, has auditioned for and been invited to perform for two consecutive years at the Memphis State Fair, the largest talent competition in the U.S.   A former Pell City Idol winner, she performs at charity events. She is a student at the Music Room in Pell City.


Thirteen-year-old Taylor Vernon, who attends Duran Junior High school in  Pell City, started dancing at age 2 and has been a member of the Starz  competition team for six years. She has won awards in dance and baton at  the regional and national levels. In 2010, she was a member of the  American Dance Team that won the World Cup at the Barcelona Dance  Awards. Taylor is a majorette in the Pell City High School Marching Band  of Gold.

CHILDREN OF JOY is a singing group of ten kids ranging in age fromx 6 to  10 who attend church in Leeds. They will perform at 2:30 pm on Saturday,  Sept. 17.  

SWITCHSHIFT is a five-member teen band from Leeds that plays  contemporary Christian and classic rock. They will perform at 4 pm on  Saturday, Sept. 17.  

KARATE: A group of 15 kids who range in age from 6 to 10 will perform a  25-minute exhibition of karate skills at 11:15 am on Saturday, Sept. 17.  They train at the Alabama Shotokan Karate Academy in Moody.

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