Rita Gebert is bringing her lifelong love of singing to a Pleasant Hill stage -- all the way from Innsbruck, Austria.
"Music in general brings feelings across and singing lets you explain those feelings," she says.
The Rotary exchange student, 17, a senior at College Park High School, is performing the solo, "Birds," by Netherlands' artist Anouk -- with a backdrop that is all things New York.
The 22nd annual Star Quest production, sponsored by Pleasant Hill Rotary, features On the Town as its central theme.
Coincidentally, Alysha Umphress, one of its touted alumnae, is currently performing a lead role of that show on Broadway, notes her mother and longtime Star Quest director Lori Tassano.
Even after 21 years, the Martinez resident still looks forward to another show in the Diablo Valley College venue, and chalks up her pursuing a teaching career to the years she's directed the Star Quest cast.
This year, Tassano has crafted and choreographed around a lineup of traditional toasts to the big city, such as Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and a Broadway medley, and has added a modern rap song, Usher's "Empire State of Mind" to engage the young crowd.
The show's 49 performers -- 16 of whom are new to Star Quest this year -- range in age in age from kindergarten to high school. They include Pleasant Hill resident Trevor Gomez, 13, who started with Star Quest at age 7, after being inspired by seeing a San Francisco production of "Lion King" as a preschooler and knowing right then he wanted to perform.
With his approximate three-octave range, Trevor will sing a solo, "It Hurts," from All Shook Up.
"It's well-practiced, so I figured it would be easy to do it here," says Trevor, who has an added role of helping out with master of ceremonies.
Trevor is quick to point out that the show's "ring leader" continues to be its producer and founder, retired Pleasant Hill Police Chief Jim Nunes, whose own performing background was a little tap dancing as a kid growing up in Hayward.
And the show's impressive props and sets Nunes has helped design and construct, stem from a penchant for drawing.
Before Nunes' retirement in 1996, he had been looking for a constructive, drug-free, positive activity for the area's youth. Inspired by Ed McMahon's "Star Search," he formed the local acting/singing show.
"Star Quest takes the local talent and brings them out," says Gebert. "It's very family like."
WHAT: On the Town, Star Quest's 2014 youth talent show
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 26; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27
WHERE: Diablo Valley College Performing Arts Theatre, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill
TICKETS: Advanced purchase, $12 ($5 for 18 and under); at the door, $15 ($10 for 18 and under); tickets can be purchased at the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park district office, 147 Gregory Lane, or the Pleasant Hill Police Department, 330 Civic Drive
INFORMATION: Call 925-689-2249