Songwriting Festival


June 1, 2020: Deadline for submissions 



• Get students writing, sharing, and performing new, original music.
• Inspire creative collaborations.
• Give students feedback on their creative work.
• Give students a chance to showcase their work. 


• Contest is open to all students at SJAA.
• No cost to enter, no limit to number of entries.
• Song entries can be written by one or more students.
• Students submit an ORIGINAL song in the form of a VIDEO RECORDING.
• Entries are judged by an international panel of musicians in the SJAA creative network.• Songs may be for any voices/instruments, any length, any style, about any subject.
• Awards are given for best original song in Elementary/Middle and High School/College categories and for best collaboration.
• Judges give feedback to all entrees via brief written comments.
• All entering students agree to share their song’s video online with SJAA community.
• Winning students will have the opportunity to perform their songs at a SJAA recital/concert or community performance. 


May 2020: Contest announced to SJAA members 

11:59 p.m., June 1, 2020: Deadline for submissions 

June 2020: Judges meet
July 2020: Awards are announced 


1) Be a student of the SJAA.
2) Write an original song yourself or in collaboration with another student. It can be for any instrument or voice or combination thereof, any style, any length, any subject.
3) Record a video of you or someone else playing or singing the song.
4) Upload your video to the SJAA Songwriting Festival Google Classroom. 

.1)  Go to

.2)  Click the “+” icon in the upper right corner and select JOIN CLASS

.3)  Join the classroom with this code: g4daoky

.4)  Post your video to the wall/stream (where it says “share with your class”, click on the
paper clip icon to upload your video

.5)  Make sure to type in the title of the song and the names and grades of any student who contributed to the writing of the song in addition to uploading the video.


.1)  Be a member of the SJAA community.

.2)  Go to

.3)  Click the “+” icon in the upper right corner and select JOIN CLASS

.4)  Join the classroom with this code: g4daoky

.5)  Peruse the wall/stream and check out the song submissions!


Contact Jason Riley at

Happy composing and songwriting!  We can’t wait to hear YOUR music!


St. Joseph Arts Academy’s mission is to provide the highest quality musical instruction and performance opportunities to beginning and advancing students in the Midland empire. We use our patience, enthusiasm and loyalty to encourage, inform and inspire others to happily share their skill and talent in love and gratitude to make the world a better place.


Music Accomplished!



Anthony Glise (Sainghin-en-Mélantois, France) – The only American-born guitarist to win First Prize at the International Toscanini Competition (Italy), Anthony is a product of the Konservatorium der Stadt (Vienna) and New England Conservatory (Boston) with additional study at Harvard University, the Université Catholique de Lille (France), ARCUM (Rome) and the Accademia di Studi “L’Ottocento” (Vigevano, Italy).

Anthony is also the only guitarist ever awarded the “Individual Artist of the Year” by the Missouri Arts Council (2006) and has been awarded diplomas and performed at such festivals as Festival des Artes (Hautecombe), Ville Sable (France), ARCUM (Rome), the Nemzetközi Gitárfesztivál (Hungary), etc. 

His traditional classical concerts often include 19th-Century works performed on a priceless 1828 Staufer Viennese guitar and US/European concerts with the avant-garde ensemble, The Nova Project, which feature his original compositions with classical / rock / jazz guitarist, Jason Riley (US). Past Nova Project guest artists include Japanese violinist, Ken Sugita (French National Orchestra-Lille), Kevin Gallagher (electric / classical guitarist – US), Jan Akkerman (rock guitarist – Holland) and Edwige DelleValle (’cellist – France).

He has published articles extensively in The Soundboard (US), Guitar International (England) and Gitarre und Laute (Germany) and has acted as Artist-in-Residence and Touring Artist for numerous US state arts councils and similar European programs. 

Anthony is author/editor of over 80 musical editions and books for the internationally-acclaimed publications, “The Anthony Glise Editions,” (Willis Music Company), “The Anthony Glise Urtext Editions” (Mel Bay Publications) and “The Original Compositions of Anthony Glise” (Ævia Publications-France).

He has performed and premiered his original compositions in New York (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, etc.), Chicago (Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, etc.), Rome (Santa Maria degli Angeli), Vienna (Vienna International Center, etc.), Lille (Nouveau Siècle of the French National Orchestra, etc.), Esztergom (Hungary) etc.

Anthony’s CDs and DVDs have consistently received 5-star reviews in magazines including The Soundboard, Guitar Player Magazine, Gramaphone, Audiophile (US), Les Cahiers de la Guitare, Le Diapiason (France), Luster (Holland), Gitarre Aktuelle, Gitarre und Laute (Germany) etc. These recordings feature traditional works and original compositions (solo, chamber, choral, orchestral and ballet). His first album, Overview, was chosen as one of the year’s “Top-5 Classical Releases” by Vienna Life Magazine (Austria) along with recordings by Murray Periah and Leonard Bernstein.

He directs both the St. Joseph International Guitar Festival (US) and the guitar festival, Six Strings and the Spirit held annually in Chartres, France, sponsored by the religious order, Communauté du Chemin Neuf.

Dr. Simon Fink (Houston, TX) – Simon Fink is a composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. His music has been called “delicate, intriguing, shadowy, (and) suddenly new” (NPR) and “refreshing” (The Kansas City Star). He brings a wide-ranging background and classically-trained ear to genres from opera to electronic music to the American folk song. He currently writes and performs with the folk/bluegrass quartet Under the Big Oak Tree and is Orchestra Director at The Village School in Houston.

Simon has received honors from the Academy of Arts and Letters, the MacDowell Colony, and the New York Youth Symphony, and his works have been featured by The Museum of Modern Art (NY), the Aspen Music Festival, and the Staunton Music Festival. His past collaborations include projects with Grammy winning musicians eighth blackbird, the Pacifica Quartet, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kevin McMillan, and Ian Howell, as well as Uniondocs, Ensemble Iberica, and Tunisia88.

In 2009 Simon became the first composer to win the prestigious ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award for a piece involving live-realized electronic sounds (Electric Pastoral). In 2011 he was awarded a prize for his music-architectural collaboration, Dock & Load, at the Music in Architecture — Architecture in Music Symposium at the University of Texas. In 2017 the Myanmar Music Festival commissioned two songs from him that toured throughout that country to great response.

Simon began violin lessons at age three when some friends found an abandoned 1/8th sized violin on a bus and offered it to his parents. In order to secure a place in a friend’s band in middle school, he took up the bass guitar and later the guitar, mandolin, and banjo. In high school he studied violin at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with Kevin Lawrence. He holds a B.A. in History and a B.M. in Composition from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Chicago where he was a Mellon Fellow and studied with Shulamit Ran, Marta Ptaszynska, and Howard Sandroff.

Simon has served on the teaching faculty at the University of Chicago, William Jewell College, and Missouri Western State University and on the boards of newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and KcEMA (Kansas City Electronic Music & Arts Alliance).

Dr. Frank Nawrot (Lansing, KS) – Frank Nawrot is a Kansas-based, Michigan-born composer, guitarist, and producer. His musical style is inspired by Kid Cudi, Julia Wolfe, Meshuggah, Julius Eastman, Tool, Steve Martland, and Prince. Frank has taken to the stage across the country as a guitarist, bassist, and singer, performing in a multitude of genres from classical to hip-hop to metal. Nawrot’s original music has been performed around the world—in Chicago, New York City, Kansas City, Hong Kong, Croatia, and Canada. He has earned a reputation for writing music that is accessible, while being challenging enough to provide audiences with a fresh and exciting experience. Nawrot is regularly commissioned to compose music for saxophone, voice, piano, concert band, and more. He also records and produces music in a variety of styles. Armed with a doctoral degree in music composition and fifteen years performing rock, pop, and hip hop, Frank brings a unique sound to the stage, the radio, and the screen.

Ed Daniels (Las Vegas, NV) – Growing up in Tarkio, Missouri (pop. 2,100, in the Northwest part of the state), Ed listened to everything from country (Don Williams, Willie Nelson, even Jimmy Swaggart!) to pop/rock (Rick Springfield), got his first keyboard at age 12 and fondly recalls holding “tennis racket guitar concerts.”

By his mid-teens, he had gravitated towards the bass, which became his primary instrument in various high school rock cover bands he joined. He played his first live shows with Jason Riley and their group Middle Earth at 15. Inspired by his love of 70s Southern Rock, the band The Hooters and Don Henley, Ed began writing his first songs. He and his band Merciless performed his song “Memphis Train” regularly.

Taking the lead from his two sisters and brother, he moved out to Greeley, Colorado, where he helped form the popular rock band King Shag, which developed a large following with a mix of original material and obscure covers of everyone from Elvis to The Cure. After the band broke up, he began writing more and performing acoustic shows throughout Northern Colorado. When the former frontman of King Shag called him to help with an album he was making out in Los Angeles, Ed moved out West and began further pursuing his musical goals. He also played bass for the rehearsal band used by “The Bold and the Beautiful” actor Winsor Harmon. A few years into his stay in LA-LA land, he met and started working with award winning jazz singer/songwriter Mark Winkler.

Ed has traveled to Nashville and pitched his songs to ASCAP reps, past ASCAP vice president and award winning songwriter Tim DuBois, Eric Hurt, currently the VP of A&R / Nashville at EMPIRE – Distribution | Recordings | Publishing, and NSAI. Ed is currently living in Las Vegas Nv. where he continues to write, pitch songs to recording and publishing companies, and play live shows. “Everything starts out with a cool idea, a couple good lines, a few great lines, and then you have to figure out what to do with them. The stress creeps in as the pressure mounts to turn those thoughts into a great song—and then when it happens, it’s the most incredible thing a songwriter can experience. It’s such a wonderful feeling listening back to it when it’s all produced, hearing all the little nuances and knowing I’ve truly given my best.”


Lucy Gray Hamilton (St. Joseph, MO)  – Lucy Gray Hamilton is a young singer songwriter from a musical family in St. Joseph, MO. She began studying classical and fiddle style violin at the age of 7 and soon after, began composing her own songs. A couple of years later she picked up a ukulele and her  songwriting soared. 

When she was 10 she was encouraged by her elementary school music teacher to enter a state wide music contest put on by Missouri University called Creating Original Music Project.  She was awarded 1st place in the elementary category “songs with words” for her  song “This Old House”. The following year she entered the middle school  division and was awarded 3rd place in the “popular music” category for her song “Back To You”.  

Lucy has enjoyed performing both as a solo artist and with her family as Lucy Gray & The Blue House Family Band at local venues, private events, on live radio, TV news, and fun  festivals in the Midwest region, including; Andy May’s Acoustic Kid’s Showcase & Pecan Grove’s Stage 7 at Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival  in Winfield, KS, and Bluegrass Battles Hunger, Trails West! & Pony Express Pumpkinfest in St. Joseph, MO. She recently appeared as a guest speaker at Missouri Western State University’s Art Scape summer program where she shared her musical journey with over 200 of her peers encouraging them to “Share Your Art”. 

Lucy has also appeared several  times as a guest performer on fiddle with some of the regions great bluegrass, folk and old time bands. Early in the fall of 2019, Lucy gathered with her family at local music school, St. Joseph Arts Academy in Missouri to capture 5 of her earliest songs. Under the production of Simon Fink, Lucy Gray & The Blue House Family Band recorded their first EP titled Round & Round, to be officially released in January 2020. 

University of Missouri’s Creating Original Music Project Competition winner:

2018: 1st place Elementary School Songs w/ Words

2019: 3rd place Middle School Popular Music

2020: 3rd place Middle School Popular Music