Winners have been named in the 33rd annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (MASC) produced by the Songwriters’ Association of Washington. Seth Kibel, a composer and woodwind player (saxophone, clarinet and flute), was named the grand prize winner for his song “New Waltz” during a Jan. 22 awards gala at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia.
An Azalea City Recordings artist, Kibel, whose song also took top honors in the contest’s instrumental category, is the founder and leader of The Alexandria Kleztet and has worked with other klezmer, jazz and swing bands. Kibel has been received 28 Washington Area Music Awards (Wammies) over the years.
Second Place Overall honors went to Owen Lyman-Schmidt (Driftwood Soldier) for “Upstanding Citizen,” a song that also captured the Gold in the vocal jazz/blues category, while Third Place Overall went to the songwriting team of Ryan Martinez, Mike Westbrock and Debra Gussin, whose “U So Mean Nothing 2 Me” was the top winner in the r&b/hip hop/urban category. Carolann Solebello, a Brooklyn, New York-based singer-songwriter, received the Director’s Choice Award for “Matches,” which also was the Silver Award (second place) winner in the folk/acoustic category.
With the exception of instrumentals, songs were evaluated based on five basic elements: melody/harmony, lyrics, flow (the mood, rhythm, dynamics), structure/contrast (between verse, chorus, bridge, etc.), and overall effect. Prizes were awarded to first and second place (gold and silver) winners in each of 12 categories — including folk/acoustic, folk-rock/Americana/roots rock, country/bluegrass, instrumental, open, and vocal jazz/blues — while finalists and honorable mention winners also were selected.
Gold and silver winners in each category were invited to perform their winning songs at the gala event during which the grand-prize winner and second- and third-place overall winners were named; each of the three received, among other prizes, cash awards and free registration to the 2017 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) and Southeast Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA) conferences. The grand-prize winner also received a free registration to this year’s Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) Conference. The top two songs in each category will be included in a MASC Winners compilation CD, while Focus Music will invite one or two winners to perform in concert during 2017 in either Maryland or northern Virginia. Young Artist Award recipients were also named — Ross Monteith and Calvin Langman coming in first for their song “Dirty Imbecile,” while Taylor Gayle took second place for “Sophia’s Song.”
Below is a list of winners, finalists and those who received honorable mention for songs in the contest’s folk/acoustic and folk rock/Americana/roots rock categories. These are preceded by a listing of the winners in select other categories that may be of particular interest to AcousticMusicScene.com readers.
Adult Contemporary: Heather Mae, Gold, for “Stand Up;” Lara Herscovitch, Silver, for “Wonder Wheel”
Children’s: Lea Morris, Gold, for “Sweet Summer Days,” David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans, Silver, for “Treehugger”
Country/Bluegrass: Laurence Baer, Gold, for “White Pass Railroad,” Jeff Moxcey and Michael “Max” McGee, Silver, for “She Makes The Rain Shine”
Gospel/Inspirational/Christian: Laura Zucker, Gold, for “Say Yes;” Kevin T. Hale, Silver, for “Come Unto Me”
Open: Kipyn Martin, Gold, for “God Is Love;” Chris Hardy, Silver, for “Endless Possibilities”
Gold: “Best Of You,” Crystal Hariu-Damore, Peter Damore (Ordinary Elephant)
Silver: “Matches,” Carolann Solebello
Finalists: “Bad For Me,” Emily Henry; “God Is Love,” Kipyn Martin, and “Grant And Lee,” Lynne Taylor
Honorable Mention: “Before The Fire,” Jane Fallon; “Caliber,” Heather Aubrey Lloyd; “Fais Do Do (A Cajun Lullaby),” Mike P. Ryan; “Found,” Owen Lyman-Schmidt (Driftwood Soldier); “Grand Canyon,” Brad Yoder; “Last Goodbye,” Austin MacRae; “The Bravest Thing,” Lara Herscovitch; “The Tribe,” Sharon Goldman, and “Up In Flames,” Austin MacRae
Folk Rock/Americana/ Roots Rock:
Gold: “Fais Do Do (A Cajun Lullaby),” Mike P. Ryan
Silver: “Incantations,” Christopher Mark Jones
Finalists: “On My Own,” Allison Dietz and Scott Smith; “Swamp Thing,” Denny Hemingson, Abel James and Dean Brown; and “Wherever You Are,” Tyler Shafer
Honorable Mention: “All In The Same Boat Now,” Byron Walls and Judith Walls Freeman; “Arkansas,” Emily White; “Drunken Eyes,” Olivia Greene; “Jacksonville,” Susan Kane; “Let Me Keep You Warm,” Allison Dietz and Scott Smith; “So Far From Home,” Ryan Minton, Chip Johnson and Michael Dasher; and “Someone New To Disappoint, Scott Ramminger
Established in 1979, the Songwriters’ Association of Washington (SAW) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to further excellence in songwriting through presenting educational programs and providing networking and performance opportunities for its members. SAW hosts open mics and showcases, workshops on the art and business of songwriting, and monthly peer critique sessions. It also publishes a monthly e-newsletter.