Riley Macek takes the stage like any hard rocking singer.
He's 11, but that doesn't stop him from covering the stage when his band cranks out a number.
"It feels awesome," Riley said. "I just do my thing and I rock out to all my songs. I don't even worry if I make a mistake because the show must go on.
"I dance. I run around. I look people in the eye. When we do Let Me, I wear a top hat and I look kind of freaky because it's a freaky song."
The smile that comes from imagining what Riley looks like when he "gets freaky" will only grow when you learn he has a hole in his heart and went through open heart surgery at 2 1/2 months.
Only the band's name, Holes And Hearts, kind of gives it away, but thanks to the work of surgeons at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Riley has no shortage of gusto — or heart.
Riley and his mates, brother Casey Charles (lead guitar), Paul Harms (bass), and Mark Fontana (drummer) will be one of two acts Sunday at the Taste of Pinellas that have a special connection to All Children's, the event's beneficiary.
Although he had two surgeries before 10 months at an affiliated hospital in Las Vegas, Riley continues to be treated here.
He expresses his gratitude in the self-penned song Life Saver, which includes the line "Hey Life Saver, Do me a favor. Put me back together again."
"They saved my life and they didn't even know me," Riley explains. "That's why we like to play a lot of benefits so we can give back to people."
The band will treat fans to what Riley described as "hard-rocking" music, including a souped-up version of Elton John's Sorry Is The Hardest Word. The song fits with the band's new role as spokesmen for Rock Against Homeless. It also has a new CD released last week. Go to www.myspace.com/holesandhearts to sample the new tunes.
Holes and Hearts takes the stage at 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
Adam 812, a hip trio of 17-year-old girls, goes on at 4:30 p.m. All Children's treated the group's lead singer, Castille Rath, four times for different problems ranging from a pulled muscle to a virus. Nothing life threatening, but she so loved the treatment there she wishes she could go as an adult.
"The doctors are great there, so we're really excited to be supporting them and the kids," said Castille, who splits time between Los Angeles and her home in Terra Ceia.
The group drops its self-titled debut CD Sunday and it sounds intriguing. Castille started doing shows in the front yard at age three and possesses a love of literature that led to classes at Oxford. Naturally, she sings and writes a lot of the lyrics.
Lifelong friend Brooklyn Skaggs — they met while still in the womb when their mothers had a joint baby shower — adds a hip-hop flavor to the group with a focus on rhythms and rhymes.
Ginny Luke, a classically trained violinist, adds an entirely different dimension and augments the vocals. Dori Rath, Castille's mother, noted that Adam 812 will sing without backup vocal tracks.
To see the group's latest videos, go to www.adam812.com.
KC and the Sunshine Band headline Sunday's entertainment at the Taste of Pinellas, but I'm excited about these two local acts.
Holes And Hearts and Adam 812 give a new definition to the phrase "gift of music."
That's all I'm saying.