Young Artist
Performance Incubator (YAPI)

Since the creation of YAPI in 2003 by Brenda Freed, who wanted to provide performance opportunities for youth in the Wimberley, TX community, a number of Texas Hill Country youth have launched their public performance careers. "YAPI open mic night provided me with the opportunity to perform for a receptive audience, which was crucial to my development as a musician," said Sahara Smith, singer/songwriter, runner-up in Garrison Keillor's 2004 Prairie Home Companion Young Artist Competition, 2007 Austin City Limits Festival performer and 2010 performer on David Letterman Show.

YAPI is sponsored by the non-profit organization, Youth Taking Charge ( See below for YAPI Performers and YAPI Archives.

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It is the end of 2013 and I have decided to retire from hosting the Young Artist Performance Incubator (YAPI).  So the Young Artist Performance Incubator at Maui Wowi in Wimberley will no longer be happening.

YAPI has been a wonderful experience for me and hopefully for the participants who performed over the course of the last 11 years.  Since starting YAPI in 2003, other than taking some time off in 2006 to find a new venue, the first Thursday of the month has been sacred to me, serving Hill Country youth with an open mic for 19 and under, free and open to the public.  YAPI has gone on regularly for ten months of the year. 

Since the start, there have been almost 100 YAPI events and over 600 acts performed by about 215 individual performers - many who have gone on to perform on other stages, including television.  YAPI performers came from all over the Texas Hill Country including Wimberley, Dripping Springs, Austin, San Marcos, Spring Branch, Kyle, West Lake, Johnson City, Blanco and as far away as Boerne.  I am so grateful to have enjoyed so much young talent.  It has been so much fun!  I love the spontaneity, fearlessness, growth, variety, originality, and talent I have witnessed from the youth over the years.  It’s been a fantastic run and I’m so proud of every YAPI performer
I am grateful to everyone for their support over the years.  YAPI survived three venue changes in Wimberley.   The last venue where YAPI landed was Maui Wowi.  Thank you to owner DuAnne Redus for helping to get the word out and generously providing Maui Wowi as the host venue for YAPI since 2006. Thank you to all Maui Wowi staff for taking such good care of us.  Thank you to the parents who brought their kids to YAPI to listen and to perform.  Thank you to the public who came to enjoy YAPI performances.  Thanks to all who helped spread the word about YAPI and to all who helped with the sound system.  Thank you to my friend, Linda Epperson, who has been so supportive.  Thank you to Tom & Mary Wiley, Allan & Madonna Kimball and Melissa Gilmore for your supportive press articles. Thanks to the Hill Country Sun, Wimberley View, Home Town News and Views publications.  Thank you to Roger Humes for maintaining my website, including the monthly YAPI photos, list of performers and YAPI News and Notes. 
And, most of all, a big thank you to the over 200 youth that performed at YAPI over the years.  I have watched some grow from shyly approaching the YAPI stage and singing part of a song to performing their original material on main stage at the Kerrville Folk Festival.  It’s been truly inspiring! 

I hope YAPI will continue at the Kerrville Folk Festival (KFF), where the first KFF YAPI was held last June for the youth in the campground joined by a few regular YAPI participants.  It was quite successful and well received. 

I trust your memories of the Young Artist Performance Incubator are as fond as mine.  I will be leaving the YAPI link up on my website at  Feel free to go there and enjoy the history of YAPI going back to 2004.  I will also leave the YAPI Faceook page up at  so feel free to go there and leave any final comments about your YAPI experience.

Thanks again for your support of the YAPI community service event.   It has been a pleasure.  Best wishes to all! 
Peace & BFreed, 
Brenda Freed

What is YAPI?

YAPI stands for Young Artist Performance Incubator and it is an open mic for age 19 and under. YAPI welcomes performers of all kinds and skill levels as well as youth volunteers to emcee YAPI, write YAPI News and Notes, photograph YAPI performers, and help run sound equipment at YAPI.

YAPI is sponsored by the non-profit organization, Youth Taking Charge ( See below for YAPI Performers and YAPI Archives.

YAPI seeks to:

  • Encourage and inspire young performers
  • Provide a safe, non-competitive, supportive environment where young performers, 19 and under, can come together and perform for each other, their families and the public
  • Motivate young performers to practice and to prepare an act which, in turn, encourages positive use of their leisure time
  • Encourage young performers to work on their stage presence by making eye contact with the audience, introducing their numbers and acknowledging applause with a bow, head nod or thank you
  • Provide an opportunity for young performers to experience working with a sound system; set up, tear down, working a microphone, getting used to performing with amplification in general
  • Create a community event, independent of the school system or church, where young people can perform appropriate material of their choice and hang out with their peers in a supervised setting
  • Increase the self-esteem of young people in the community
  • Provide an opportunity for young people to become good listeners and respect each others’ differences
  • Encourage young performers to write and to perform original material, however, original material is not required
  • Provide an opportunity for young performers to meet and possibly pair up to form other acts or ensembles
  • To provide opportunities for youth to get experience in the following areas: photography, publicity, sound engineering, being an MC for a show, writing YAPI News and Notes, and exercising leadership skills in organizing the performers

When is YAPI?

The YAPI season is August – May and takes place the first Thursday of the month.

Where is YAPI?

  • • YAPI takes place at Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees and Smoothies (847-6215) located on RR12 in Wimberley, TX in the front of the Brookshire Brothers grocery store parking lot. It is a place where the whole family can come and be comfortable, and the coffees and smoothies are excellent. Some pastries are offered as well.


  • YAPI is FREE of charge for audience and participants

Who can perform at YAPI?

  • YAPI is open to the public but performers must be age 19 and under.
  • All sorts of performers are welcome; singers, instrumentalists, poets, dancers, comedians, etc. Group performances are encouraged.
  • YAPI welcomes all levels of performance skill.
  • Adults may accompany a YAPI performer or a YAPI performer may accompany an adult but the focus of YAPI is on the YOUTH.

Equipment Provided

  • A sound system including a PA, a speaker, two microphones and stands.
  • A full-sized weighted key electric keyboard.
  • A stool.
  • A music stand. 
  • Young people playing other instruments are expected to bring their own instrument, cord(s), effects pedals and tuner.  Instruments should be tuned before coming on stage.
  • If someone wishes to sing to a CD, they are expected to bring the player and cords as if it were the instrument they are playing to accompany themselves.
  • Any other questions about equipment needs should be directed to Brenda Freed at (512)426-0301.


  • Young people show up and sign their name and age on the appropriate sign up sheet (Age 12 and Under Sheet or Age 13-19 Sheet). The sheets are numbered 1-12. Participants will perform in the order they are listed on the sheet so if someone signs in on line 3 and no one signs in on slot 1 or 2, # 3 will go first. If there are more than 12 performers, we will start another sheet. 
  • Each performer is introduced by name and age.
  • Audience members and performers are all encouraged to listen and applaud after each number.

YAPI Performers

Contact Information

Brenda Freed / BFreed Records
P.O. Box 1856
Blanco, TX 78606

Office Phone: 830-644-2351
Mobile Phone: 512-426-0301

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Archive: YAPI Performers (January 2004 - December 2008)