Songwriting contest slides into Aspen |

Songwriting contest slides into Aspen

Andre SalvailThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – The fourth of six preliminary rounds for a songwriting contest associated with this year’s 7908 Aspen Songwriters Festival will be held Tuesday in Aspen at The Red Onion.Contest coordinator Amy Kaiser, who also is the operations manager for the Wheeler Opera House, said the competition has been going well over the past week, with 33 musicians participating in Breckenridge, 29 signing up in Avon and 19 joining the fun in Steamboat Springs.At music venues in each of those three Colorado towns, one person was selected as a finalist to compete during the festival, which returns to the opera house for its third straight year from March 21 through March 25. An Aspen finalist will be determined tonight. Judges will select two more finalists at Randi’s Grill in Winter Park on Jan. 24 and Shine in Boulder on Jan. 25.The eventual winner will get two free nights of lodging in Aspen during the festival’s final two days – plus the title of “Colorado’s Best Songwriter 2012.” The artist also will get to play on the Wheeler Opera House stage on the night of the festival’s closing performance. Musician John Oates, the festival’s executive producer and half of the successful pop duo Hall & Oates, will introduce the performance.Finalists also will receive free lodging in Aspen and a chance to showcase their songwriting and performing talents at venues around the city during the festival. A secret panel of judges will make its way around to the various performances to evaluate each finalist with an eye toward choosing a winner.Kaiser said Tuesday’s Aspen round will start at 8 p.m. and will feature one song from each contestant. The field likely will number more than 20 songwriters, she said.After each participant has performed once, the judges will choose five semifinalists. Each semifinalist will be asked to perform a second song, and the best of that bunch will be the Aspen finalist entered in the March festival competition, Kaiser said.Though early registration is encouraged, either by contacting Aspen musician Trenton Allan at 970-366-0939 or by arriving early at the club to sign up for a performance spot, Kaiser said walk-ins probably will be accommodated.”We want to make sure that we get everybody in who has previously showed interest,” she said. “If we have any walk-ins on the night of, we’ll do our best to get them in, as well.”Kaiser said she’s been impressed with the level of competition so far.”I feel like we have strong finalists, and I’m looking forward to having those finalists back in Aspen in March,” she said. “I think it will be a wonderful opportunity for them to gain exposure in Aspen at a variety of venues and to be seen by John Oates and the other artists involved in the festival itself.”She said the competition is proving that interest in the festival exists around the state. Kaiser credited Councilman Torre for pushing the idea of sponsoring a songwriting contest as a way of fueling interest in the festival outside of the Roaring Fork Valley.Entrants are gauged on lyrics, melody, arrangement, performance and crowd

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