Angel Rodriguez, a student songwriter from Puget Sound Adventist Academy High School in Seattle, WA, was named National Champion of The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students July 24 for his song “Bleeding.”
The program is a pilot initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Playbill, Inc., with additional support provided by Disney Theatrical Group.
Rodriguez was awarded a $5,000 scholarship for his winning song “Bleeding,” which will be published by Sony/ATV. He was one of three finalists flown to New York City to compete for the title.
The two runners-up are Jake Berglove from Perpich Arts High School, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, and Chelsea Mayo from R.L Turner High School in Dallas County, TX. Berglove and Mayo were both recipients of a $2,500 scholarship.
“Songs can get better. Even if it’s a great piece, I feel like there are still different ways to make it unique or make it better to a specific subject,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “I am going to keep moving forward, I’m going to keep writing songs and keep making it [them] better.”
During the July 22-24 weekend, the three finalists had the opportunity to work with industry professionals in a series of songwriting workshops. At the end of each workshop, the finalists’ songs were performed by professional musicians for a judging panel that included songwriter Adam Gwon, Tony nominee Norm Lewis and composer/lyricist Anaïs Mitchell.
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.