Leaving the confines of academia, Idyllwild Arts student songwriters, part of a new Music Department program this school year, will appear at Fern Valley Corner’s Creek House Restaurant.

Songwriters Will Whitaker, Nicky Martin, Elias Sedlmayr, Alex Keller and Corwin Zekley, assisted by Idyllwild Arts’ award-winning jazz combo pianist Luca Jacaruso take the stage at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 25 for about an hour and a half set. “They’ll each be doing two to three of their songs, and collaborating on their performances,” said songwriting instructor Don Reed.

“This is exciting for them, a great opportunity to showcase their work in a town environment,” said Reed. “This performance will be much more like the real world. In our classwork we’ve been concentrating on showmanship, mike technique and presentation, including talking with the audience. A lot of what we [as teachers] do is nurture their process and get them to produce, since most of them already have a solid footing in songwriting.” He said their work is all interesting and very different and spans the songwriting spectrum from punk to pop to R&B, and Celtic roots to Broadway like ballads and crossover fusion of all these genres.

Songwriter Nicky Martin credits this new music department program with changing his life. “I went from being uncomfortable in my own skin to loving what I’m doing,” he said. This program has allowed me to meet my needs and passion for writing.” Reed said the first half of the night will be the students’ performances and then Reed and Tom McNeary, with assists from the students will close out the evening.