The Center Proudly Begins a Songwriting Festival – New Songs

The Center for the Arts presents the first-ever New Songs Festival, for growing the next season of songwriters, with four days of songwriting workshops, and evening concerts for the attendees and general public to attend, beginning on April 27, 2023.

Songwriters are at the heart of our arts community and this is where we begin to grow the next generation of songwriters. New Songs is a three-day songwriting festival featuring three full days of workshops, three evening concerts, multiple breakout and coaching sessions, studio space, a panel discussion with professional songwriters, and a professional production on stage in front of a public audience. 

Included with your ticket is a robust package that includes: VIP Songwriters Reception, one ticket to a concert each night of the festival, three days of workshops with lunch provided by The Center, three days of studio use, coaching/feedback sessions, songwriters panel discussion, and culminating in a performance on a professionally produced stage (encouraged but optional). The evening concerts will feature wonderful talent in the songwriting arena such as Keith Greeninger, Laurie Lewis, Iris DeMent, and Ruthie Foster, with many of these same artists leading the workshops. 

Rita Hosking

New Songs Fest is hosted by Rita Hosking, songwriter, artist, performer, and teacher. Rita earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Davis, with coursework focusing on world religions, culture, psychology, and creative writing. She then earned a California Teaching Credential in Social Studies from Sacramento State University and honed her storytelling and organizational skills with over ten years of 8th-grade U.S. History students. While music always remained an interest, Rita gained perspective into the universal human psyche from an intellectual standpoint that would later be integrated with her own story. The music she produces today is an amalgamation of her university studies, teaching experience, motherhood, and the humanity that has moved her since her childhood in the hard-hitting mountains of Northeastern California.

Keith Greeninger and Laurie Lewis will share the stage together with two full sets for an evening performance on April 27, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. As a singer-songwriter, Keith paints intricate portraits of the human condition with powerful melodic images, deep engaging guitar rhythms, and husky, heart-wrenching vocals. His masterfully crafted tunes and powerful presence have earned him the top songwriting awards at the prestigious Telluride Blue Grass Festival, The Kerrville Folk Festival, and The Napa Valley Folk Festival. For nearly four decades, Laurie Lewis has gathered fans and honors for her powerful and emotive voice and her versatile, dynamic songwriting. She is a sought-after recording producer and an equally skilled teacher, mentor, inspiration, and a ground-breaker – across genres, geography, and gender barriers. 

Iris DeMent’s songs are her way of healing our broken inner and outer spaces. On her transcendent new record, Workin’ On A World, Iris DeMent faces the modern world — as it is right now — with its climate catastrophe, pandemic illness, and epidemic of violence and social injustice — and not only asks us how we can keep working towards a better world but implores us to love each other, despite our very different ways of seeing. She will perform on April 28, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. with opener Pieta Brown. 

We’ve all been in need of some healing in recent times, and Ruthie Foster’s latest album provides a guide for how to move through the world with equal parts compassion and resolve. Healing Time finds Foster pushing her boundaries as a singer and songwriter more than ever before, creating a truly live-sounding atmosphere with the help of her band, who sound refreshingly loose and lived-in throughout these 12 songs. Ruthie will perform on April 29, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. with opener Royal Wood. 

“Songwriting has always been a healing experience for people. Our community has certainly undergone life stressors lately, and so, this seems a perfect time to bring people together in sharing their hearts through song,” says Amber Jo Manuel, Executive Director of The Center for the Arts.

Rita Hosking states “New Songs Fest will be a unique mix of world-class, evening concerts and daytime songwriting curriculum, all held at a state-of-the-art sound theater in the picturesque Sierra foothills. In one word — uplifting.”

New Songs Fest is a beautiful opportunity to hone the craft of songwriting with leading experts in the field. Attendees will elevate their talent to profound heights and have their hearts and minds filled with new techniques and abilities, leaving them confident to share their songs on the stage at The Center for the Arts on April 30, 2023.