Hoosier Star 2020 Audition Judges
Hoosier STAR 2020 welcomes back Ken Grace Jr. Auditions will take place at Little Theatre. A Big Thank you to Katy Gartland and the Little Theatre Team!
Greta Stirling Friedman
Greta is a native of LaPorte, a Slicer and graduate of Bates College in Lewiston Maine and Valparaiso Law School. Her earliest memories are of listening to every Broadway musical and memorizing the lyrics. As a child of two musicians and educators it was one of our favorite things to do. Greta’s first singing experience was as Gretel in “The Sound Of Music” along side her mother, Jayne Westphal as Maria.
Greta has appeared in numerous musicals and plays in the last 25 years in local theater. Her role as Peter in “Peter Pan gave her the unique perspective of singing while flying in the air. Much harder than it looks and it gave her a whole new appreciation of Mary Martin! While a huge challenge it was fun for her to share the stage with her two children who were part of the wonderful cast. For several years Greta has had the privilege of singing with the Praise Team at the First United Methodist Church with some truly talented musicians.
She has participated in Hoosier Star on several occasions as an Audition Judge and describes it as uplifting and joyful. “The level of talent we see in this remarkable competition is incredible. Every year I say that it was the best year yet….until the next year. It just keeps improving each year. The leadership, vision and talent of those who put on this competition each year is dedicated to encouraging young singers and is second to none.” ” It is an honor to be working with James Nearly and the other remarkable members like Cherri and Tim and the board to see that this competition continues even in this challenging time….we need music perhaps more than ever!”
Katie is a board-certified music therapist who graduated from Saint Joseph’s College and University of Evansville with degrees in music performance, music education, and music therapy. Katie now runs Escape Room La Porte on Jefferson Ave. Former employee of Music of Oz in Crown Point, IN, Katie has educated many students ranging from all woodwinds, brass, and string instruments. While being involved in touring choir ensembles, maintaining first-chair in instrumental ensembles, and directing musicals such as The Twenty Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Katie played tenor saxophone in the local jazz-fusion ensemble “Electric Soul Machine”. While practicing music therapy Katie taught children, teens, and adults how to play guitar, drums, piano, and sing.
James Neary is an award-winning singer-songwriter, frontman of James Neary and the Bevy Blue, and former Hoosier Star winner. Over the course of his music career, James has opened for Cracker, The Main Squeeze, Billy Strings, John Mayall, and has even performed on-stage with Muse. He prides himself on honest, evocative songwriting and performing while connected to the music, and in 2016, James exemplified those ideals and became the Hoosier Star winner with his rendition of Queen’s “Somebody To Love”. James is honored to be on the other side of the judging table and hopes to help bring this year’s Hoosier Star to new heights.