Kerville University Songwriter’s Contest

Are ready to make a name for yourself as a musician? Are you ready to share your songwriting talents with other students? Are you ready for the fifth annual Kerrville University Songwriter’s Contest?

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, the University Songwriter’s Contest is designed for university students who are specifically interested in songwriting. Currently enrolled students are encouraged to submit a recording of their original songs.

A competition will be held Friday, April 27 at the Revolution Cafe in downtown Bryan. Ten selected contestants from Bryan-College Station area universities, including Sam Houston State University, will each present two original songs. Students from Texas A&M and both the Bryan and Brenham campuses of Blinn College will also be included in this contest.

A panel of judges will select a winner to serve as the representative from the Bryan-College Station area. Judging emphasis will be placed on the songwriting craft rather than performance.

The winning songwriter representative will play their leading tunes in a special concert showcasing college student songwriters from around Texas on June 2 from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The concert will take place during the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas. The 18-day festival on Quiet Valley Ranch features a three-day songwriters’ school, daily stage concerts, and all-night campground song circles. The Kerrville Folk Festival is the premier folk festival celebrating songwriting and songwriters.

The previous winners of this contest were Shane Walker (founder of the group Sidehill Gougers), J Goodin, Jenny Morgan and Becky Kessler.

The University Songwriter’s Contest is the brainchild of Stuart Vexler, an Austin psychologist and chairman of the Festival’s Board of Directors. For years, Vexler has organized a multi-day music school for teachers as part of the festival. He thought that a concert featuring student songwriters would be a natural extension.

As far as folk music festivals go, Kerrville ranks high across the country. “Kerrville is the longest consecutively running folk music festival in North America and the second largest in annual attendance,” said Andrew Seidel of Bryan, Texas. Seidel is chairman of the Board of Directors for Quiet Valley Ranch. He will also be one of the judges for the April 27 competition in Bryan.

Seidel added that representing the Bryan-College Station area at the festival would be “a highly valuable opportunity for a songwriter to meet others in the field, some new and some long established.”

If you are interested in submitting your original music and are able to perform (if selected) at the Kerrville Folk Festival on Saturday, June 2, send a recording of your two songs on a CD or cassette to: Kerrville University Songwriter’s Contest, c/o Gary Varner, 406 Woodson Drive, Bryan, Texas 77801-4741.

Don’t forget to include the titles of the two songs, plus full contact information including your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Both songs together should not exceed about eight minutes in length. There is no entry fee.

For more information, call Gary Varner at (979) 846-0250 or email

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