Let's Hear What You Got! Once-Inspired Songwriting Contest Winners Announced

News 05/05/15

Omaha Performing Arts has announced the winners for the songwriting contest inspired by Once! Using the theme of the Tony Award-winning musical as inspiration, aspiring singer-songwriters were invited to write an original song for the competition for a chance to win a demo recording session for their song, a chance to play at showcase and for tickets to attend the opening night of the touring production of Once. Two songwriters were selected to win the recording session: Luke Heffron, 17, of Omaha for “Forget Myself” in the 13-18 Age Division, and Drew Nenemen, 29, of Omaha for “Another Love Song” in the 19-29 Age Division.

Heffron and Nenemen each won a free demo recording of their song at ARC (recording studio), produced by nationally renowned musician, producer and sound engineer, Mike Mogis. The top songwriters overall and the Top 10 songwriters from each age division were selected by judges who viewed videos submitted for the contest. Those 20 songwriters will perform in a local showcase on May 11, at 7:30PM, at The Waiting Room in Benson. Ryan Link, who plays Emcee in the touring production of Once and is the understudy for the lead character, Guy, will be at the event, as well, performing his original music from his recent album and music from Once.

“The talent displayed by each of the entrants was fantastic to see,” said Kendra Whitlock Ingram, Omaha Performing Arts Vice President, Programming and Education. “The judges were blown away at the thought put into the songs and the passion with which they were presented. Omaha Performing Arts was excited to present this competition and we’re pleased that so many people participated.”

“I was particularly impressed by the overall quality of all the entries,” said Mogis. “I enjoyed going through the songs, and it was inspiring to see all these kids put themselves out there like that. There are a lot of talented kids in Omaha.”

The Top 10 songwriters performing in the showcase are:

13-18 Age Division: Sophie Clark, Omaha, “To Rule the World”; Griffin Gillen, Plattsmouth, Neb., “The Most Overrated Season”; Noah Gose, Lincoln, Neb., “Without You”; Luke Heffron, Omaha, “Forget Myself”; Jack McLaughlin, Omaha, “Just Like A Child”; Mary Ruth McLeay, Omaha, “The Guest”; Nicole Miller, West Des Moines, Iowa, “Do You Miss Me (Would You)”; Roni Perez, Omaha, “Off to Paris”; Chloe Pinkman, Lincoln, Neb., “You”; and Anna Wade, Lincoln, Neb. “Thing Is.”

19-29 Age Division: Cody Barta, Omaha, “Cancer”; Kait Berreckman, Omaha, “I'm Fine”; Makesha Carter, Omaha, “Drowning”; Logan Larkin, LaVista, Neb., “Battle Scar”; Josh Lawler, Omaha, “Summer Blues”; Dominique Morgan, Omaha, “Stand Up”; Drew Neneman, Omaha, “Another Love Song”; Elsa Rae, Omaha, “Intercom”; Sam Swerczek, Omaha, “Holding Back”; and Tara Vaughan, Blair, Neb., “Gotta Get Myself Right.”

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