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Jackson student wins national songwriting contest

2021 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Winners
2021 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge Winners(he National Endowment for the Arts with the American Theatre Wing)
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:46 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Oluchi Nwaokorie of Murrah High School has been announced one of the winners of the National Endowment for the Arts with the American Theatre Wing’s 2021 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge.

The Songwriting Challenge seeks to cultivate the next generation of musical theater songwriters from among the country’s high school students through mentorships with professional musical theater artists.

Nwaokorie is one of twelve students who won this year’s competition. Nwaokorie has been in multiple theater productions including Beauty and the Beast, Matilda, and Once on This Island.

She is currently attending the University of Michigan where she is studying musical theater. She has been writing pop and R&B music for a while but she started exploring musical theater composition at the start of the pandemic.

Nwaokorie is very passionate about creating unique work by drawing inspiration from the music she was surrounded by growing up

The Songwriting Challenge provides each winner with a coaching team—a mentor and a music director—to hone an original song into a Broadway-ready composition.

Each song is then recorded by Broadway musicians and vocalists in New York City, made available on streaming music platforms, and compiled into a songbook by Concord Theatricals. The mentoring sessions take place remotely while the recording sessions will be a combination of remote and in-person.

Almost 150 applications were submitted by high-school students in 32 states. The winners were selected by review panels of professional theater artists in a blind competition. The next phase is that the students will be paired with a mentor and music director to begin their work.

“The winners in this fifth anniversary year represent the energizing diversity and creative potential of our country,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers.

“These young people will have a rare opportunity to develop their original song with an extraordinary group of mentors, music directors, musicians, and vocalists. Whether or not the winners take up songwriting professionally, their experience in the program will help them develop as artists and as adults.”

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