School of Music students Hold Event For Students To erform Their Own Songs

Liberty School of Music students are in the midst of preparations for the upcoming March 23 songwriting showcase and March 30 artist development showcase.

According to School of Music Director of Communication Timmy Williamson, both of these showcases are designed to grow School of Music students in their specific area of study and give them an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience.

“Each semester we have a songwriting showcase and an artist development showcase,” Williamson said. “The songwriting showcase is specifically to showcase original songs that our songwriting students have written, while the artist development showcase is unique and different in that it is really about the artists’ presentation of a song.”

While the School of Music concert hall has the capacity to seat up to 1300 attendees, due to COVID-19 restrictions this semester the maximum capacity is at 250 people for the two showcases.

“This year of course is a little different,” Williamson said. “We have to be very careful with numbers, not to go over the allowed numbers of attendees — but generally these events are open to the public and they’re actually a community favorite. We’ll have hundreds of folks attend.”

According to Williamson, School of Music students who are enrolled in certain commercial music classes are required to perform and will be evaluated by faculty members in the audience. Williamson said that while the showcases are academic in nature, they are also a valuable opportunity for School of Music students to perform on a larger scale.

Elisa Standridge, a sophomore commercial music songwriting major, will be performing an original song in the songwriting showcase.

“I’m excited to get the opportunity to gain connections and also just the experience of performing in itself and being able to do that,” Standridge said. “You have to master your craft, so that’s what I’m working on.”

Judges will critique the quality of the student’s original song participating in the songwriting showcase while students in the artist development showcase will be critiqued on their performance in front of the large audience.

“Obviously the [songwriting showcase] performances are very good,” Williamson said. “But the idea is you’re listening to the lyrics and the melody and the hook of the song and really focusing on what the songwriter is saying through what they’ve written. The [artist development] performance is designed to highlight the performer himself or herself. That particular showcase is really focused on the presentation.”

Chair of the Michael W. Smith Center for Commercial Music David Hahn said that while worship songs are sometimes performed at these showcases, many of the songs performed include lyrics of romance, heartbreak, happiness and struggle — all through the lens of a Christian worldview.  

 “(The students) think so deeply about life and I love that about what we do here in the commercial music side,” Hahn said. “We want to address an entire world and not just those people that are going to church on Sundays.” 

Students must RSVP for the event and may do so by emailing to acquire the sign-up link.

Addi Tarr is a News Reporter. follow her on Twitter @addi_tarr.

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