Seattle Area High School Student Wins National Songwriting Challenge

Awarded Scholarship and Publishing Contract

 

Angel Rodriguez from Puget Sound Adventist Academy, Kirkland, WA was named National Champion of The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students on July 24th in New York City. Along with the winning title, Rodriquez was awarded a $5,000 scholarship and his song “Bleeding” will be published by Sony/ATV. 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. In Seattle the program was led by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and The 5th Avenue Theatre.

“I am going to keep moving forward,” stated Mr. Angel Rodriguez. “I’m going to keep writing songs and keep making it [them] better.”

Rodriguez was one of three high school students who traveled to New York City to hone their songwriting talents and compete for the National Champion title. The two runners-up are Jake Berglove from Perpich Arts High School, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and Chelsea Mayo from R.L Turner High School in Dallas County, Texas. Each runner-up was awarded a $2,500 scholarship.

“We are thrilled that Angel won the competition,” says Bernadine C. Griffin, Managing Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre. “We are so proud of Angel and of all the students who submitted passionate and amazing original songs to the Challenge.”

From July 22 to July 24, the three national finalists participated in an intensive songwriting workshop with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers to learn about the musical theater business and polish their songwriting skills. At the end of the workshop, each finalist had their song performed by professional musicians. Judges from the music and musical theater industries, including songwriter Adam Gwon; Tony Award® Nominated and ABC “Scandal” actor Norm Lewis; and composer/lyricist Anaïs Mitchell, chose the national champion.

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. Scholarships were provided by the National Music Publishers’ Association Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters (S.O.N.G.S.) Foundation.

About the Office of Arts & Culture | Seattle

The Office of Arts & Culture envisions a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. The Office is supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council. Find out more at seattle.gov/arts Follow @SeaOfficeofArts or facebook.com/SeattleArts

About The 5th Avenue Theatre

The nonprofit 5th Avenue Theatre is acclaimed as one of the nation’s leading musical theater companies and is especially renowned for its production and development of new works. Since 2001, the Seattle-based company has produced 17 new musicals. To date, nine (including the sensational hit Disney’s Aladdin) have moved on to Broadway premieres, earning a combined 15 Tony Awards, including two for Best Musical (Hairspray and Memphis). The 5th Avenue Theatre is also known for its world class, critically acclaimed productions of musicals chosen from both the contemporary canon and the Golden Age of Broadway.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016.

About Playbill, Inc.

Since its inception in 1884, PLAYBILL has become synonymous with the legitimate theatre and is an internationally known trademark and symbol of the arts. Playbill Magazine, which can be found in theatres and classical arts venues throughout the country, proudly serves every Broadway house as well as the country’s most prestigious fine arts institutions, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In 2016 Playbill presses will roll out 3.5 million programs monthly for nearly 100 theatres in 24 cities. Playbill.com was established in 1994, and has since grown to become the leading source of theatre information on the web and has expanded to a suite of online offerings including Playbill Vault, Playbill EDU, Playbillder, and more. Visit http://www.playbill.com for more information.

May is Asian Pacific American History Month

Seattle is the perfect place to celebrate Asian Pacific American History Month. Asian Pacific Americans have played significant roles in Seattle’s history and there is a thriving community with lots to explore including public art, museums, the Chinatown/International District and everything in between.

Lunch + Learn
Friday, May 13 | 12-1 p.m.
Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Please join us for a special Lunch + Learn, celebrating Asian Pacific American History Month. Artists Akio Takamori, Diem Chau, and Humaira Abid will present their work and how it reflects their cultural heritage. Curated by Ruri Yampolsky, Public Art Program Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Please bring your lunch; beverages and food for thought will be provided.

Places to explore:

Chinatown/International District
Seattle’s Chinatown/International District is located southeast of Pioneer Square. The historic district built largely between 1909 and 1929 is listed in the National Historic Register of Historic Places. It is home to vibrant storefronts, restaurants, produce markets, and museums.

Parks to explore:

Hing Hay Park
423 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Hing Hay Park “Park for Pleasurable Gatherings” is the International District’s primary public square and features an ornate grand pavilion that was a gift from the people of Taipei.

Kubota Garden
9817 55th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
The Kubota Garden is a stunning 20 acre landscape blending Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. It was created by Japanese American Fujitaro Kubota in 1927.

Seattle Japanese Garden, Arboretum
1075 Lake Washington Blvd E, Seattle, WA 98112
Located within the Washington Park Arboretum, this is a spectacular 3 1/2 acre formal garden designed and constructed under the supervision of world-renowned Japanese garden designer Juki Iida in 1960.

Cultural Organizations:

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
719 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98104
Founded in 1966, the museum was named after Wing Luke (1925-1965), the first Asian American to hold public office in the Pacific Northwest.  The Wing explores the culture, art and history of the pan-Asian Pacific American experience and is the first Smithsonian affiliate in the Pacific Northwest as well as an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. Their mission is to connect everyone to the rich history, dynamic cultures and art of the Asian Pacific Americans through vivid storytelling and inspiring experiences.

Seattle Asian Art Museum
1400 E Prospect St, Seattle, 98112
The Seattle Asian Art Museum resides in a 1933 Art Deco building in the Olmstead-designed Volunteer Park. Their collection of Asian art includes historic and contemporary Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, Filipino, and Vietnamese art.

Burke Museum
4331 Memorial Way NE, Seattle, WA 98195
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, founded in 1885 is a research and collections based museum dedicated to cultural heritage and biodiversity. The museum’s long term exhibition Pacific Voices features the arts, ceremonies and stories of Asian and Asian American cultures and communities around the Pacific Rim.

Densho
Densho is a digital, public history organization. They work to preserve and share stories of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II by recording firsthand accounts, digitizing historical images and documents, and developing classroom resources. Densho’s work is nationally acclaimed with awards from the American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award and the Oral History Association.

5th Avenue Theatre
1308 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Opened in 1926, the interior of the 5th Avenue Theatre incorporates design motifs from Imperial China’s Forbidden City, Temple of Heavenly Peace, and Summer Palace.

 

*Information included from the Visit Seattle’s Cultural Guide

Calling All Seattle and King County High School Students for a Songwriting Challenge

Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and The 5th Avenue Theatre Joins the National Endowment for the Arts and Playbill Inc. to Promote Musical Theater Songwriting

High school students from Seattle and King County can showcase their songwriting talents and compete for the opportunity to be one of three finalists traveling to New York City in a new songwriting program launching on February 17, 2016: The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students. Interested songwriters can upload their submission to arts.gov/songwriting between February 17 and April 4th, 2016.

The Office of Arts & Culture and The 5th Avenue Theatre are working with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Playbill, Inc., with additional support provided by Disney Theatrical Group, to encourage high school students from Seattle to submit a song – the music and lyrics – in any style, from Broadway-style to pop or rock, or Latin to country or rap, as long as it is part of a musical theater story. A winner from Seattle will be selected from among three semi-finalists.

In the summer of 2016, the winner from Seattle will travel to New York City where s/he will take part in an intensive songwriting workshop with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers to learn more about songwriting and sharpen their songwriting skills. At the end of the workshop, their original song will be performed by professional musicians and singers in a final competition with judges from the music and musical theater industry.

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. 

“We are thrilled to be one of three pilot cities for the NEA Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge,” says Randy Engstrom, Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. “Celebrating 50 years of the NEA with a special program for teens continues the NEA’s tradition of fostering the arts in all its forms across the nation. We are excited to participate and partner with The 5th Avenue Theatre to offer the best experience to our youth.”

In its pilot year, The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students is only available to high school students in three metropolitan locales: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Dallas County, TX; and, Seattle and King County, WA. 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 at #IWriteSongs16. 

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016.

About Playbill, Inc.

Since its inception in 1884, PLAYBILL has become synonymous with the legitimate theatre and is an internationally known trademark and symbol of the arts. Playbill Magazine, which can be found in theatres and classical arts venues throughout the country, proudly serves every Broadway house as well as the country’s most prestigious fine arts institutions, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In 2016 Playbill presses will roll out 3.5 million programs monthly for nearly 100 theatres in 24 cities. Playbill.com was established in 1994, and has since grown to become the leading source of theatre information on the web and has expanded to a suite of online offerings including Playbill Vault, Playbill EDU, Playbillder, and more. Visit www.playbill.com for more information.

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Office of Arts & Culture | Seattle The Office of Arts & Culture envisions a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. The Office is supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council. Find out more at seattle.gov/arts