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Music Events (more headlines) 09-24-2006

Winners Announced In Great Lakes Songwriting Contest

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Email: michigansongwriters@juno.com
Website: http://www.GreatLakesSongs.com/
A retired Marine Corps captain from Minnesota, a recent graduate of Northwestern University, a Chicago novelist, and a former child actor from New York City: These are just four of the 11 winners of the 2006 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest.

The Grand Prize goes to Jen Cass for her song “Small Town Boy,” a song about the exodus from rural America to the industrial Midwest in the early 1900s. "It's a tribute to my grandparents, who taught me how to love unconditionally, and to anyone who's ever survived hard times by leaning hard on good love," Cass says.

Cass, who grew up near Detroit and now lives in Bay City, MI, has been a winner in numerous music contests (including the Metro Detroit Songwriting Contest and the John Lennon Songwriting Contest), and has performed her songs in major venues across the US. Her winning song comes from her third and most recent album, “Accidental Pilgrimage,” which was produced by hit producer John Jennings and features some of the top session musicians in the country.

Five of Cass's songs also won honorable mentions in this year's contest.

First place honors were shared this year by Whit Hill of Ann Arbor, MI, and Michael Mahler of Chicago. Hill’s song, “Farsighted,” is the title cut from her most recent CD. Trained as a child actor in New York City, she went on to get a degree in dance from the University of Michigan before forming her band, “Whit Hill and the Postcards,” in 2001. Hill also won a second place award in the 2006 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest for her song “Sandusky,” from her acclaimed 2003 release “We Are Here.” She also received honorable mentions for three songs in this year’s contest.

Mahler, a recent graduate of Northwestern University, has written music and lyrics for numerous shows in both Chicago and New York. He co-wrote the original family musical, "How Can You Run with a Shell on your Back?" which will premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in March 2007.

Second place honors went to former Marine Corps captain and computer instructor Leo Clark of Burnsville, MN, for his light-hearted country-rock ballad, “Nothing Looks Good on You.” Singer-songwriter Rachanee of Lansing, MI, won second place for her haunting exploration of life’s pathways, “From Here,” which she co-wrote with Steve Wilson of Nashville. Bruce Holmes of Chicago, a novelist, former championship chess coach and former teacher of Aikido and juggling, won both second place honors for “Shine” and a third place award for “We Were A Family.” Both songs are from his debut recording, “Life’s An Intelligence Test,” which has been featured on over 70 radio stations across the country.

Third place honors were shared by Roger MacNaughton of Ada, MI, for his meditative piano composition “Cherry Creek”; Joe Crookston of Ithaca, NY, for his driving saga of adolescent tragedy “Freddy the Falcon”; Patrick Power of East Lansing, MI, for his tribute to a street musician friend “The Heart of Mary Lou”; Rachele Eve of Plymouth, MI, for her tribute to a young woman’s internal struggles with romantic rivalry, “Lady in Black”; and Mike Silovich of Chicago for his big band song, “Waiting on Love.”

Profiles about the winners and their songs can be found on the contest website, www.GreatLakesSongs.com. The top six winners of the 2006 contest will be featured in concert on February 17, 2007, at the Trinity House Theatre in Livonia, MI. Advance tickets are available through the website.

The 2007 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest is now open to current residents of the eight Great Lakes states and the Province of Ontario. Thirteen winning songs will be chosen, and the Grand Prize has been increased to $1,500 cash this year, with additional publicity and promotional opportunities. More information is available at www.GreatLakesSongs.com

The contest is open to all ages and all types of music. Songwriters are not forced to pick a particular category for their songs. Each song is judged on its own merits, not by how well it conforms to the conventions of a certain genre of music.

The contest is sponsored by the Songbridge music marketing company based in Ontario, Canada, Elderly Instruments of Lansing (MI), Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters of Royal Oak (MI), and The Michigan Songwriters, LLC, of Ann Arbor (MI). More information on this year’s contest and last year’s winners is available at www.GreatLakesSongs.com.

The four judges for the 2006 contest were: Philadelphia’s Freebo, the singer-songwriter and long-time bass player for Bonnie Raitt; Chicago’s Rich Warren, host of the syndicated radio show “The Midnight Special”; Toronto’s Jodi Krangle, proprietress of “The Muse’s Muse” songwriters’website, internet radio show and electronic newsletter; and Central Michigan’s Dan Bracken, a songwriter and one of the organizers of the Wheatland Music Festival. The 2007 judges will be announced when the winners are announced, in October 2007.

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