Staff Report

Two young singers from the Santa Ynez Valley say that making connections that will last a lifetime and having a chance to grow were some of the best parts of the recent Teen Star Santa Barbara competition.

Solvang Elementary School student Elizabeth Padfield said she loves being part of Teen Star because she is surrounded by people who understood her passion for music.

“I was so excited to be invited back to Teen Star for the second year. This year, I was able to really relax and be in the moment instead of worrying about every aspect of the competition. I felt much more comfortable knowing that I could handle the stress of that gigantic stage,” said Elizabeth Padfield, 12, who is a student at Solvang Elementary School.

The popular competition, now in its seventh season, was created by executive producer Joe Lambert, a former valley resident.

This year’s Teen Star drew contestants from all around Santa Barbara County who performed their hearts out at the Arlington Theatre, where Daniel Geiger of Pioneer Valley High School won the title of 2018 Teen Star.

The mission of Teen Star Santa Barbara is to support youth in performing arts with the goal of nurturing talent by inspiring passion, instilling a drive for success and encouraging excellence and professionalism.

Freshman Jake Gildred at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School was selected from hundreds of competitors to be one of 10 finalists this year.

“I decided to audition because it’s a really exciting opportunity to showcase my talent and grow as a singer, and because it opens the doors to new chances to showcase my talent to the community,” Jake said.

A choreographed group number, including the 10 finalists and the lone alternate, opened the show. Then each finalist performed one song for a group of celebrity judges and the audience. Then the audience members voted electronically for their favorite. The top three singers then performed a second song and the judges select Geiger as the winner.

Geiger will receive a $1,000 scholarship, job opportunities, and the chance to open a show at the Santa Barbara Bowl. All finalists will also get funding for their school’s arts programs.

The proceeds from the showcase will benefit performing arts in Santa Barbara County schools. For more information, visit or call 800-380-9110, ext. 200.