Rock the Oaks benefit concert hits high notes for 2015

James Holland (right) and Gwyn Sanborn performed the LeAnn Rimes song, “Gasoline and Matches” during the event.
James Holland (right) and Gwyn Sanborn performed the LeAnn Rimes song, “Gasoline and Matches” during the event. Shane Gibson photo.

Rock the Oaks celebrated its 7th annual weekend benefit concert for Oak Grove Center for Education Treatment and the Arts on Jan. 30 and 31. Record crowds were in attendance, according to Gwyn Sanborn, orchestrator of the event.

“Our acts were amazing this year,” stated Sanborn. “Every show, there was a standout performance. The Ranch Rockers band learned 25 new songs for the weekend, and they did an amazing job all the way around.”

Proceeds from the show, sponsored by Shamrock Irish Pub and Eatery, went to the Oak Grove Center for Education Treatment and the Arts, a nonprofit, 24-hour residential, educational and therapeutic treatment center, located in Murrieta that treats 76 at-risk children who live on campus and 90 to 100 day students who attend its nonpublic schools. The organization’s Oak Grove at the Ranch, is located in Perris and serves an additional 50 students.

Tammy Wilson, CEO at Oak Grove Center
Tammy Wilson, CEO at Oak Grove Center for Education Treatment & The Arts welcomes guests attending the first night of “Rock the Oaks” at The Bridge Church on Jan. 30. Proceeds from the live music show went to the performing arts and autism programs at Oak Grove Center. Shane Gibson photo

This year’s benefit concert was comprised of local amateur and professional musicians, along with ensemble performances by the Oak Grove students. Rock the Oaks benefit is an “upbeat live music show, sprinkled with today’s pop country, classic rock, gospel, country, and patriotic music,” according to Sanborn.

With three separate performances, Sanborn stated that there was record attendance for the Bridge Church location. “We premiered 65 separate acts throughout the weekend,” Sanborn said.

New to the show was stage manager Noemi Villareal, who Sanborn said led the production without a hitch and was a large part of the success.

“The show went phenomenally smooth both on stage and behind the scenes,” Sanborn commented.

Eric Warner
Eric Warner performs Bon Jovi’s song “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Shane Gibson photo

The third year at The Bridge Church was the charm, said Sanborn, who set the stage in major style. “Both the lighting, the sound set by Travis Turner, had us looking and sounding just like a rock concert,” she said.

Friday night’s acts included The Shams, James Holland, Crooks & Keys, Devin Renee, Hannah Wathen, Nick Arriola, Tori Sullivan, Hannah & Tori, Anna-Kate Gibson, Stephanie O’Connor, Roy Thomas, Maddy Damasco, Maddie Wichterman, Maddie Salute, Jessica Deering, Bethany Riddle, Zaul Lizalde, Arianna Dusenberry, Katie Bell, Jaeden Bradley, Kat Bridges, Kelsey Bridges and Pastor Teresa Taylor and The Rock Church Temecula.

For Saturday’s 2 p.m. matinee, the performers included Girls of Destiny, Marah Alley, Katelynn Mizak, Julianne Scalise, Soliha Nelson, Lacey Young, Maxeene Quiambao, Hannah Valencia, Aliann Brawner, Jared & James Vermillion, Alyssa LoSchiavo, Alyssa Kurt, Vernon Bennet, Kaitlyn Kewley, Hunter Crawford, Stephanie Faldmo, Nikki Sandoval, Lee Nelson, Rochelle Allured, Savannah Leighton, Amanda Kay, Hannah Schaeffer, Hannah White, and Mikayla & Gracelynn Sanborn.

Saturday night saw YouTube sensation Trevor Moran, The Brewer Boys, Joanna Pearl, Alaina Blair, Bill Bembenek, Julia Bembenek, Yael Kariv, Mattie Martin, Eric Warner, Nicole Misemer, Milyce Kenny, Alexis Umathum, R Buckle Road, Dawson Anderson with Kelsey Bridges, Lance Allen, Cole Criske, Michaela Kazen & Keley Newell, Noemi Villarreal, Hayley Stayner, Jason Witt, Anastasia Geges, Holly Davis, and Brianna Parish. Noah Turner with Erik Turner of Warrant performed with “Kickin’ It” star, Leo Howard.

“With all of those amazing performers, it still was the Oak Grove kids who stole the show,” Sanborn said.

In a rendition of “Something in the Water,” by Carrie Underwood, Sanborn led an ensemble performance with pitch perfection to round out the night. “All in all, it was an amazing weekend, and a thrill as ever to see these kids shine,” Sanborn said.

For more information about Oak Grove Center for Education and the Arts, visit

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