The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Playbill, Inc. announced three national finalists in the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students. With additional support provided by Disney Theatrical Group, the Songwriting Challenge presented the chance for high school students from Seattle and King County, WA; Dallas County, TX; and Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, to showcase their songwriting talents and compete for the opportunity to be one of three national finalists traveling to New York City in July.
The national finalists are:
* Jake Berglove from Perpich Arts High School in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
*Chelsea Mayo from R.L. Turner High School in Dallas County, TX
*Angel Rodriguez Renton from Pugent Sound Adventist Academy High School in Seattle and King County, WA
“Congratulations to the national finalists who took part in the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students. Their creativity and talent represents the next generation of songwriters,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “As a young person, I couldn’t have survived without the arts. Competitions like this allow the NEA to support emerging musical artists, particularly among our nation’s young people.”
Local partners in each city led the Songwriting Challenge; they include: Perpich Center for Arts Education in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Big Thought in Dallas County, Texas; and the Office of Arts & Culture in Seattle and King County, Washington.
This summer, national finalists will head to New York City for the next phase of the competition where they will take part in an intensive songwriting workshop with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers to learn about the music business and hone their songwriting skills. At the end of the workshop, each national finalist will have their song performed by professional musicians and singers with judges from the music and musical theater industry choosing the national winner.
The national winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award, and each national runner-up will receive $2,500. Scholarships are provided by the National Music Publishers’ Association Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters (S.O.N.G.S.) Foundation. In addition, the national winner’s song will be published by Sony/ATV.
More information on the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students can be found at arts.gov/songwriting. Follow the conversation about the Songwriting Challenge on Twitter at #IWriteSongs16.