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Tag Archive: contest


Rick Sheffield and Little Anthony Bellante Jr

Rick Sheffield and Little Anthony Bellante Jr

Last Friday, February 17, at Harbor Point Club and Grill, Little Anthony Bellante, Jr. kicked off week seven of the Reach For the Stars Talent Revue competition. Regular judge, Dan Roark, representing the Dallas Songwriters Association, was in attendance, with new semi-regular judge, Tanya Houston, and guest judge Ned “Elvis Presley” Spencer. Ned is an Elvis tribute artist.

The show began with Tannery Usrey, winner from week five who was unable to open last week’s show due

Ana Seldana and Anthony

Ana Seldana and Anthony

to illness. Following Usrey was David Conger, winner from week six. Then the competition began. Competitors on week seven were Ana Seldana, Curtis McCallum, Arthur Anderson, Linda Stone, Rick Sheffield, and Cindy Lewis.

Fill-in acts were Renea Sheffield, Ned Spencer, Darren Rozell, Mark Nash (doing comedy), Tomas Pineda, Jr., and Deano Isaac, with Dan Roark closing the show.

The winner was Rick Sheffield, who will open week eight. Second and third place went to Ana Seldana, and Curtis McCallum, second and third place, respectively.

Curtis McCallum and Anthony

Curtis McCallum and Anthony

Come on out to Harbor Point this Friday for week eight. Guest judges on week eight will be Rob and Brinka Lowe of www.castingnewlives.com.  It is always a great show, full of talented performers. Great music, good food, reasonable drinks, and a friendly staff!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

Dan Roark

Peace be with you.

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Tanner Usrey

Tanner Usrey

Last Friday, February 3rd, at Harbor Point Club and Grill in Richardson, was week five of Little Anthony’s Reach for the Stars Talent Competition. Regular judges Pete Cormican and Dan Roark were present, along with guest judges, Rev. KM Williams, and Drew “Spider” Minshew. Regular judge, Lonny Schonfeld, had a previous commitment.

Rev. Williams opened the show with his cigar box guitar blues. And he can play the blues. Darren Rozell,

Joe Watson

Joe Watson

winner from week four, followed the Reverend. Competing on Friday were Tanner Usrey, John Willis, Curtis McCullum, Linda Stone, Joe Watson, Cindy Lewis, and Renee Sheffield. Fill-in performers – other than Rev. Williams, were Spider Minshew, Felix Estrada and Tomas Pineda, Jr. First place winner was Tanner Usrey. Second and third place were Joe Watson and Curtis McCullum, respectively.

Come out this Friday for week six to see Tanner open the show. It’s always a great show and a fun time with great music, good food, reasonable drinks, and a friendly staff.

Curtis McCullum

Curtis McCullum

If you would like to perform or compete, call Anthony at 214-660-4799. I’ll be back to playing this week. I’m breaking out the ukulele and harmonica. Come on out and join us.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Judges, Dan Roark, Pete Cormican, Lonny Schonfeld, Tanya Houston (not pictured, Larry Cooper)

Judges, Dan Roark, Pete Cormican, Lonny Schonfeld, Tanya Houston (not pictured, Larry Cooper)

Last Friday, the 21st, was the third installment of  Little Anthony’s Reach For the Stars Talent Revue Competition at Harbor Point Club and Grill.  Tanya Houston, comedienne from Ft. Worth, and Larry Cooper, guitarist for Chet Atkins, were guest judges in addition to the three regular judges. Little Anthony, of course, was the MC, while Tomas Pineda, Jr. filmed the show for CI-TV. Opening the show was the first place winner from the 2nd week, Genaro Sendejas. He was followed by Deano Isaac, the 1st week’s winner.

Tin Man Travis

Tin Man Travis

Competing for the evening were John Mason, Jordan “Copperhead” Bearden, Tin Man Travis, James Idley, Cindy Lewis, Denise Alcarez, Ferdie Gonzalez, and Charley Younblood. Larry Cooper, Tanya Houston, and Sonya Wade were fill-in performers. Dan Roark closed the show.

John Mason

John Mason

Following Dan’s set, the winners were announced. Third place was John Mason, second place was Jordan Bearden, and first place was Tin Man Travis. Then Tin Man played another song to close out the evening.

Come on out and see the acts perform for week  four of the Reach For the Stars Competition. Tin Man will open the show. There are always interesting acts and a few surprises. Some of the acts are simply singers, some play an instrument and sing, and some, like Sendejas, Travis, and Mason, perform their original songs.

If you would like to perform, call Anthony at 214-660-4799.

Join us this week. The staff at Harbor Point is very friendly, the food is good, and the drinks are reasonably priced. There is also pool and shuffleboard while you listen to the music.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Jordan Bearden

Jordan Bearden

Peace be with you.

Genaro Sendejas

Genaro Sendejas

The second week of the Reach for the Stars competition at Harbor Point on Friday began with Little Anthony introducing Deano Isaac, winner of week one. He sang a couple of Frank Sinatra songs, and a song that Elvis Presley covered. James Idley began the week’s competition with a few R&B tunes. My fellow judges were Lonny Schonfeld, Pete Cormican, and Gus Garza. [Read on if you would like to play as a fill-in or compete.]

Darby Martin played next. As he did when he played the week before when he came in second, he played an original song. For his third song, he put his guitar down and sang to a track. Isaac came back up and sang a couple more songs in a fill-in performance. Then Jack King – the Magic Guy with the Bow Tie – performed a few magic tricks, also as a fill-in performer.

The competition continued with Rachel Schriver, who also sang the week before. She seemed to have more

James Idley

James Idley

confidence this week and did well. She is also a veteran, for which she received applause and support. Genaro Sendejas followed with three good original songs, accompanying himself on guitar. David Marcus followed Sendejas. Marcus has a very good voice that is reminiscent of Frankie Valle and singers of that era.

LTD is a man and woman duo. I tried to get their names, but was told just to put LTD. They sang a couple of songs, including a Doobie Brothers tune, before she sang the last song alone. Cheryl McGuire came on next as a fill-in performer. She sang a few of the songs she sings at her nursing home shows.

David Marcus

David Marcus

A guy named Dan Roark closed the show with of few of his songs before the winners were announced. Genaro Sendejas came in first and will open the show next week. James Idley and David Marcus came in second and third, respectively.

Come join us at Harbor Point next Friday at 8 p.m. to hear Genaro and see what the evening brings. If you would like to play as a fill-in or compete, call Anthony at    214-660-4799 (no texts). Good food, reasonable drinks, and friendly staff. And a lot of good music. See more pictures on my FB music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

jbl-harman-truckI’m on the home stretch – catching up-wise. On September 28, I had the good fortune to play one of my songs for a video in the EON ONE Take – One Song One Take contest from JBL Professional and Harman. I had been picked from a large number of people to receive a slot. I arrived at the Harman truck in the Guitar Center parking lot in Farmers Branch before my required time. I signed the required form and waited my turn.

J.T. – I’m pretty sure that was his name – had me tune and set up, then do a sound check. When the red line came on, I played my newest song at the time – Peace Be With You, which I wrote about the strange year we’re having and the shooting during the protest in downtown Dallas. [A live version will be available soon.] J.T. seemed to like the song. I’m sure he has to be careful lest someone misunderstand. He explained how the contest would go from there.

The tour around the country concludes about the end of October. Voting will take place the first couple of weeks in November and the top ten finalists will be picked and notified. I’m not sure how the grand prize winner will be picked from the finalists, but the grand prize is a trip to LA to record the song at a noted studio.                                                                                                                                                              akg-d5

As I thanked J.T. and left, he handed me an AKG D5 microphone for recording the video and entering the contest. I used the microphone when I hosted the Monday open mic at Angela’s at the Crosswalk a week ago Monday and the mic performed beautifully. A very clear sounding mic without any of the annoying whine or scream on the high end. At $99, it’s a great deal.

Hopefully, I’ll be asking for your help to do whatever I have to do should I be chosen as a finalist. But I’m not holding my breath.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

Dan Roark and Roy Elkins

People began to arrive at Sons of Hermann Hall at 6:30 on Tuesday, December 8 for the Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) Song Contest Award Ceremony and Christmas party. Board members Barbe McMillen, Bobby Montgomery, Ken Duren, and Dan Roark, with member and SOHH employee, Lisa Byrn, David Lewis (SOHH), and the sound man, Logan Hughes, had arrived early to set up the hall. Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Roy Elkins, CEO of Broadjam.com, pitched in to help Bobby set up the food tables. Board member, James Pappas, owner of Dallas Ice Sculptures, supplied the Christmas tree sculpture for the table.
Christmas Tree Ice Sculpture
The ceremony began promptly at 7 p.m. with a welcome from Barbe McMillen, DSA Founding President Emeritus and an explanation of the song contest process and breakdown of prizes. She then introduced MC Roy Elkins. As mentioned earlier, Roy is founder and ceo of Broadjam.com. He came down from Wisconsin a day early to present a free workshop the night before at Tone Shop Guitars in Addison. The workshop was called Your Music and Your Business. Elkins shared from his experiences in the music business and Broadjam, as well as information from music contacts. More information about the workshop can be found here.

AudienceAfter a few opening comments, Roy introduced Dickey Johnson. Dickey, along with Mary Guthrie and Mary Hestand (Sugar Daddy and the M&Ms), played his winning critique song, Alone with Alone. Then Elkins introduced Dan Roark, Showcase, Workshop, and Lyric Contest Director. Dan gave a short bio of the Americana judge, Kendra Terry, booking manager at Uncle Calvin’s Coffee House. He read the list of semifinalists and announced the winners.

Roark then introduced Katie Riley, with her mother and sister. They played both of Katie’s Dan Roarksemfinal songs, I Believe (Christian), and Dry Bones (Pop/rock). After which, Dan gave a short bio of the Christian/Inspirational judge, Scott Dicken, currently music director at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch. He then read the semifinalists and announced the winners, before introducing Rio King. Rio played his four winning critique songs, Sweet Rolls and Cream, Boogie Woogie Rhythm, Boomer Boogie, and The Old Wrecked Vet.

Roy Elkins stepped back up and introduced Bobby Montgomery, DSA Executive Vice President, and 2014 Songwriter of the year. Bobby gave a short bio of Larry Beaird, owner of Beaird Music Group, and judge of the country category. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the country winners, Montgomery introduced M’Lynn Musgrove. M’Lynn played her two semifinalist songs, Healed, and Preaching to the Choir, both in the singer-songwriter category.

M'Lynn Musgrove

M’Lynn Musgrove

Elkins then introduced Michael Brandenberger, DSA President. Michael gave a bio of the Instrumental judge, Tony Hakim, owner of jazz venue, Kitchen Café, and a positive force in the Dallas-Ft. Worth jazz scene for over 25 years. After reading the semifinalists and announcing the winners, Brandenberger introduced Dori Weavers, who played her winning critique song, Waiting to Breathe. He then read the Love Songs/Easy Listening semi-finalists and announced the winners.

Barbe McMillen came back to the podium to give a bio of the Children’s/Novelty judge, Monty Harper, who has been on the Oklahoma Arts Council Touring Roster since 1995. Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then introduced, Jon Storm. Jon played his semifinalist song in the Pop/Rock category, Love Me Now.

Roy Elkins returned to the podium and introduced Harry Hewlett, co-director of the song

Warren Hanson

Warren Hanson

contest this year and director next year. Harry gave a short bio of Pop/Rock judge Kathy Forste, who has worked in television and radio for the past 30 years in various capacities. He read the semifinalists and announced the winners. Then he introduced Warren Hanson, who performed his semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category, Just Lucky I Guess.

Roy Elkins returned to introduce Michael Waid. Michael performed his singer-songwriter semifinal song, Lost and Found. Roy then introduced Jennifer Marler, who, joined with her husband, Justin, played her semifinalist song, Memories Don’t Burn. Then Elkins called Barbe McMillen back to the podium.

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Harry Hewlett, Dori Weaver, and Michael Brandenberger

Barbe gave a brief bio of singer-songwriter judge, David Card, owner of Poor David’s Pub, one of Dallas’ best listening rooms. David also founded the BW Stevenson Memorial Singer-Songwriter Competition. Then Barbe read the semifinalists and announced the winners. She then announced the winner of the iPod for which each contest entrant received an entry. The winner was Samuel Miller from Chico, California. Miller’s song, Can’t Get Enough, was a semifinalist song in the singer-songwriter category.

McMillen explained the judging process – which can be found on the DSA website – and introduced grand prize judge, Roy Elkins. Roy talked about the song entries and announced the Grand Prize winner. He then introduced Buck Morgan, who played his winning critique song, Jimmy Loves Jesus. Elkins then introduced Bobby Montgomery, who played his winning critique song, Give ‘Em Time, Lord.

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Harry Hewlett, Rio King,Barbe McMillen

Roy brought Harry Hewlett back to the podium. Harry explained the process for song of the year. Then he gave a short bio of the song of the year judge, Ian Dickson, a singer-songwriter having performed for a number of years. Then Harry announced the Song of the Year winner. Harry made some closing remarks and then Michael Brandenberger started the open mic. A list of semifinalists can be found here and the a list of winners can be found here.

Although time and space did not allow me to elaborate more, all the performances were wonderful and the evening was a huge success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Brett Dillon and Ian Dickson

Brett Dillon and Ian Dickson

I went last Tuesday to week one of the auditions for the Rusty Weir Songwriting Contest, put on by KHYI and Love and War in Texas in Plano. I went to support friends, and Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) members, Mr. Troll, and Ian Dickson. All eight songwriters had very good songs to perform.

Host, Brett Dillon, introduced the songwriters two at a time and they would switch off for each song.

Mr. Troll

Mr. Troll

Each songwriter played three songs. I arrived just as Brian Lambert and Charley Smith were wrapping up their songs. Byron Dowd and Mr. Troll were the second pairing.

Ian Dickson

Ian Dickson

Trace Bivens and Alex Lease switched songs next. Then Ian Dickson and Marina Rocksu ended the auditions with their three songs. The contest, or comradarie, as Dillon put it, is enjoyable on the entertainment side, but tough on the performer and competition side. For the audience, it’s a lot of good music for no cover with good food and beer.

I won’t be going to tonight’s auditions, because of the DSA 2nd Tuesday meeting. But there are excellent songwriters again tonight. Bayliss Laramore will be playing in next week’s auditions.

Peace be with you.

20131103_132007I recently joined the Board of the Dallas Songwriters Association (DSA) after having been a member for several years. I am now the Lyric Contest Director, as well as helping out in other areas. I was given the entries to the recently completed contest (it is run quarterly). My job is to read all the lyrics and pass along to another member of the board the songs I think are worthy to be considered in the final judging. After reading the lyric contest entries, I have a few thoughts to pass along to those planning to enter a lyric/songwriting contest.

If you are just writing lyrics, find someone to write or play the melody. Make sure that it is a song, not just a poem. Granted, sometimes the line between the two is blurred. But even in those instances, one can tell the difference between a poem and song. Read it out loud.

If it sounds good to you, then have a few other people read your song. It is your choice to accept or reject suggestions or criticism. But if more than one person says the same thing, it would be prudent to follow their advice. If you read your song out loud and it sounds “sing-song-y,” you might want to work on it a little more.

At the very least – and I mean the very least – read your song several times before you submit your entry. Use spell checker and check the grammar. When I’m reading the song entries, I can forgive a misspelled word or single grammatical error. But if you misspell the same word in the chorus each time you type out the chorus, the song instantly goes in the rejection pile. It’s the same with the gramatical errors. If you are using slang purposely, or  are misspelling words to imitate an accent, use quotation marks. But make sure  it fits the song.

If you are going to take the time, make the effort, and spend the money, you might as well make it worth it. Present yourself and your song in as professional a manner as possible. A song should fit on one page, maybe one and a half. Certainly not more than two pages. You do not need to type out the chorus each time it occurs, if it is the same each time. Using 12 pt. type is quite sufficient – anything larger is unnecessary.

The first thing you should consider before submitting an entry is whether or not you have written an actual song. I do not have time to tell you how to write a song. There is so much already written on the subject, I do not need to. If you’re in the Dallas area, you could join the DSA and attend meetings. Every major city should have a songwriting association. Keep writing and learning as you go along.

Along the journey, when you decide to submit to a lyric or songwriting contest, you need to do four things. Make sure it is actually a decent song. Present yourself and your song professionally. Read it over carefully a couple of times before sending it. And follow the entry rules  to the letter.

Peace be with you.

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