Nashville's innovative Songwriting University (SU), in partnership with the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and Gibson Gives-the charitable arm of Gibson guitars-has announced the winners of their first annual Christmas Songwriting Contest. The three powerhouse organizations joined forces to not only discover the next generation of songwriters, but to provide critically-needed support for cancer patients, families, and research.
Five dollars of every contest entry supported the work of the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, founded by Olympic gold medalist and cancer survivor Scott Hamilton. His foundation is dedicated to funding advanced, innovative research that treats the cancer and spares the patient.The grand prize winner received a Gibson Les Paul guitar, courtesy of Gibson Gives.
Songwriting University, whose unique services and world-class staff have been profiled in ForbesMagazine, among other media outlets, provided a distinguished panel of songwriters, artists, producers, and music professionals, including award-winning songwriters Buddy Greene ("Mary Did You Know") and Wayne Kirkpatrick ("Change the World"), along with trail-blazing music industry manager and record executive Michael Blanton (Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Reunion Records), to select the ten outstanding finalists who were awarded thousands of dollars in cash and prizes, including a check for $1,500 in addition to the Gibson Les Paul guitar for the grand prize winner.
Given the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, the contest offered a unique platform for songwriters to express their creativity, inspire others through their art and do it all for a good cause.
"We were so honored to partner with Scott Hamilton and his foundation for this contest," says Michael Blanton, one of Songwriting University's founders. "To be able to provide some levity and light at the end of such a dark year was an honor and a testament to the healing power of song."
This year's grand prize winner, who walked away with $1,500 and a brand new Gibson Les Paul guitar, is Abigail Orsborn for her song, "Two Christmases." In 2nd place, receiving $500 and a brand new Gibson Les Paul guitar,is H. Jack Williams with "One Little Boy."
The remaining finalists are listed below. The third, fourth, and fifth place winners will receive a two-hour songwriting session with a hit songwriter($499 value), and the sixth through tenth place finalists will receive a one-year subscription to SU/MasterClass ($90 value).
3rd - "The Only Thing I Want More" by Cam Monroe
4th - "Why Christmastime" by Derek Toomey
5th - "Angels In the Snow by Julie Broschard
6th - "A Much More Silent Night" by Lori Lee Loving
7th - "Peace for Your Christmastime" by David Powers
8th - "Highly Favored" by Dave Lemieux
9th - "It's a Santa Claus Thing" by Darrell John
10th - "Christmas Cookies" by Jennifer Smestad
Per the terms of the contest, winners were chosen in an anonymous, blind judging process, with the names, bios, and addresses of the songwriters hidden from the judges. Winning songs were selected for originality, melody, lyrics and composition/structure. Performance and recording quality were not considered.
For more information on Songwriting University, visit SongwritingU.com.