Friday, May 04, 2012
Young songwriters show talent in SMAC contest
Variety of musical genres represented in group’s first songwriting competition.
After listening to songs submitted by local students for the first Smith Mountain Arts Council’s student songwriting contest, Mike DeGiorgi, contest chairman, explained the difficult task the judges had.
“We had seven entries this year, any one of which could have won,” said DeGiorgi. “It was a difficult choice, but when you hear the finalists’ entries, you’ll understand why we picked these songs.”
Michael Franke, a local blues singer and songwriter who also judged the contest, said a simple rating system consisting of three components — words, music and “intangibles” — was used. Songs had to stand out based on the song itself, not on its production quality.
“It had to hold together under some level of scrutiny, and it had to move me,” said Franke.
First place went to Emily Horton for “Song for Blockbuster Cashier Boy.” This tune is about a first crush.
“My inspiration for this song was an actual cashier at Blockbuster,” said Emily. “It stems from the feelings that I have about people who I wish I could know better, or people who exist in my life only as passing strangers who might never show up in my future.”
Horton accompanied herself on a ukulele she got for Christmas. She will receive $300 for first place.
Zachary Arduca won second place for “Never Die,” a rhythmic, melodic song with a strong guitar groove.
“On the outside you could be showing a beautiful smile, yet inside, there could be so much pain,” Zachary said. The song is “also about trying to help and ease their pain.” He will receive $125.
Luke Fortner took third place with a melodic contemporary Christian song, “Breath of Life.” He said he took his inspiration from Genesis 2:7 and plans to use it to reach other young people through a musical ministry.
“The world is slowly falling apart, and with using our music, we think we can reach a younger audience,” said Luke. He will receive $75 for his effort.
“It was great seeing the work done by these students,” said DeGiorgi. “A number of musical genres were represented, from rap to contemporary Christian. I hope all these students are still writing songs 40 years from now and still feeling passionate about expressing themselves musically.”
All three finalists said they plan to continue writing music, either professionally or for their own purposes. They will perform at Trinity Ecumenical Parish, located at the corner of Virginia 122 and Lakemount Drive in Moneta, on May 20 during intermission of the Franklin County Violin Program. The program begins at 4 p.m.
To listen to the songs, visit smithmountainartscouncil.com.
For more information, contact Betsy Ashton at 297-3585 or email@example.com.