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Richard Leigh Songwriters Contest Finalists Announced

Post Date:05/21/2019 2:31 PM
Seventeen finalists have been selected from 108 entries for the upcoming two-day Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival to be held May 24 & 25th on the campus of Virginia Highlands Community College, Abingdon. 

Finalists, in no particular order, include: Scott Miller, Dan Curry, Kevin Hale, Reed Fields, Shannan Miller, Bella Raye, Ashley Lucas, Adam Bolt, Bent-Lee Carr, Barnett Carr, Mike DiGiorgi, Greg Trafidlo, Celie Holmes, George T. Kiser, Jr, Aaron McGlothlin, Sydney Rose Wray, and Victoria Barber.

Songwriting finalists will take the stage Fri., May 24 at 5:30 pm at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace (formerly known as the Heartwood), performing songs in seven categories, including: country, gospel, pop/rock, bluegrass, folk, lyrics-only and youth. Winners will be announced during the weekend’s Hall of Fame Songwriters Concert event Sat., May 25 at 6:30 pm at the Southwest Virginia Higher Ed Center, when the overall winner will be invited to perform alongside Nashville’s greats showcasing their grammy-winning number one hits. 

A winner will be selected in each category with an overall winner receiving a $300 cash prize, a recording session at The Earnest Tube, Bristol Va. (providing live direct-to-lacquer recording, $400 value), and membership/benefits in the Nashville Songwriters Association International ($225 value), the Southwest Virginia Songwriters Association and the Virginia Highlands Songwriters Association.

The Saturday night stage will come alive with number one songs (and stories behind the songs) written and performed by four Nashville Hall of Fame singer-songwriters, including our very own Richard Leigh (known for writing Crystal Gayle’s hit, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”), a VHCC graduate who grew up in the foster care system. Other grammy-winning songwriters performing include Tony Arata (“The Dance” recorded by Garth Brooks), Even Stevens (“I Love a Rainy Night” recorded by Eddie Rabbitt), and Jim McBride (“Chattahoochee” recorded by Alan Jackson).

Proceeds from the festival will help connect deserving students with advising, mentoring, tutoring, and career planning services. They will be assisted with transportation and scheduling issues and receive guidance in budgeting and financial planning. Great Expectations gives ambitious, hard-working young men and women the boost they need to succeed in college and transition to independent living.

Tickets for the Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival are $15 for Friday, $25 for Saturday, or $35 for both evenings. Tables for the Saturday night Hall of Fame Songwriters Concert may be purchased for $500 (seating for 8). To purchase tickets, please visit For additional information, please call (276) 739-2569.

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