MIT student dubbed Western’s best songwriter

Festival of Arts contest finds talented singers/songwriters

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A look at the Festival of the Arts

The annual Original and Unplugged Singer & Songwriter Competition sung proudly in the Spoke Tuesday night as part of this week’s Festival of the Arts.

The contest presented young artists at Western with the opportunity to show off their talents and present their music to an audience.

Performers competed for first prize, which was recording time for a five-song CD at 94.9FM CHRW, while the runner-up received two tickets for the Stratford Festival. Third place was awarded two tickets to the Grand Theatre’s performance of Sexy Laundry.

The event featured eight performers who presented two original songs each. It proved to be a display of innovative talent and musical ability, as each performer found their own way to connect with the audience through relatable lyrics and distinctive sound.

Most performers stuck to the basic accompaniment of keyboard or an acoustic guitar, but others looked for a more unique way to fill their set.

Opening performer Sam Allen, for instance, backed his politically-charged lyrics with a harmonica as well as an acoustic guitar.

Michelle Wydra and Gillian Schnur set themselves apart when they combined their creative talents in a self-described “chillin’” duet, both with acoustic guitars.

Other highlights of the evening included the performances of Keila McCullough, Brian Lukaszewicz and Mitchell Brown.

The panel of judges was composed of VP-student events for the USC Sabrina Sdao, Student Life manager Mark Wellington, and music and productions manager of CHRW Alicks Girowski. FoA committee member Deana Sdao organized the event.

The winners were chosen based on the quality of their music, singing ability, presentation and audience response. Third place was awarded to Hayley Preziosi, second place to Lucciana Costa and the first place winner was Dondrea Erauw.

Erauw, a first-year Media, Information and Technoculture student, stole the show with her vocals, her guitar playing skills and her ability to use her lyrics to connect with the audience in a way few performers can.

Overall, the evening’s performances displayed a high degree of creativity and passion.

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