Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 | 5:43 p.m.
Young local singer Malia Civetz has performed at venues including the famed the Apollo Theater in New York, the stadiums of numerous sports teams and the Suncoast Showroom, just to name a few, but there is one stage that continues to hold special meaning for her.
"The Bootlegger is my home away from home," the 14-year-old said.
Malia is among a number of local young singers who grace the stage at the Bootlegger Bistro during once-monthly 10 Future Stars performances produced by local elementary school music specialist Steve Fortgang.
At 1 p.m. Sunday the restaurant will host the young singers, as has become tradition, but with one twist.
The group of performers, all ages 8 to 19, as well as Fortgang will be celebrating the three-year anniversary of the production.
"We'll have birthday cake and we'll sing happy birthday to ourselves," Fortgang said with a laugh.
Fortgang said he started the event, which often entertains a full house, to give young people an opportunity to perform.
"This gives them a chance to show their talents in a professional setting each month," he said. "They have to do a lot of work to prepare their materials and their songs to a professional standard."
Many of the performers also use the shows as opportunities to fine tune their performances.
Henderson resident Ellie Smith, 11, is one of the long-time performers at the bistro.
Smith, who travels the country singing in various venues and stadiums as well as performing in musicals, said she uses her time on the stage at the bistro to figure out what she needs to work on based on audience response.
"It's a lot of fun. It's a great test ground to practice my new songs and it's just so fun to perform there," she said.
Her mother Geri Smith said she appreciates that the bistro is willing to host shows that feature young talent.
"Here in Nevada, there aren't many places that will showcase kid's talent," she said.
For Malia, the bistro is unique for a different reason.
"It's kind of just a place where you can try new things and be comfortable, which is really really rare," she said.
Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or email@example.com.