The Stefan George Memorial Songwriting Contest

Renamed this year to honor TKMA's friend and 2013 Headliner Stefan George who passed away in 2015.

Saturday, April 30th, 12:00 — 2:00
on the Patio Stage (In front of the Museum of Art entrance)

Ten finalists (chosen from a field that typically numbers more than 40) will perform two original songs each for the Folk Festival audience and a panel of judges that includes fellow songwriters.
Contestants will be evaluated on:
  • Originality & Uniqueness
  • Song Structure
  • Arrangement
  • Talent & Stage Presence
The winner will perform a 25-minute set on the Plaza Stage at 6:00 on Saturday.

Congratulations to this year's winners:

1st Place
Janelle Loes Scottsdale , AZ
Janelle Loes is an emerging singer/songwriter who knows how to spin a song and mesmerize an audience. Fusing elements of jazz, pop, and adult contemporary music, her style is both catchy and soothing while her voice is a deep sea serenade through rich, expressive waters. An accomplished fingerstyle guitarist, pianist, and violinist, Janelle’s songs are crafted orchestrations, driven by honest lyrics and a maturity that reaches far beyond her age.

2nd Place
Dan Weber Vancouver, Washington
Award Winning songwriter Dan Weber has been described as “The Classic Mid-Life Overnight Sensation.” A gifted storyteller & engaging performer, in 2015 Weber won the prestigious Winfield New Songs contest for his tribute to Woody Guthrie & became a rare 3 time finalist in the prestigious Kerrville New Folk contest. An ex-Park Ranger, his songs have been described as “reminiscent of early John Prine” & the legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliott said “I love Dan’s songs and he tells really good stories.”

3rd Place
elizabeth tighe Phoenix, AZ
Elizabeth is a Tucson native who started in vocal performing and began playing piano as she started songwriting at age 10. She now also plays guitar, violin and other instruments and enjoys playing with the likes of Bobby Ronstadt, Don Armstrong, Tom Mein, the Joshua Stone Band, Arlen and Travis Nelson, Bea Graves (Three Legged Dog) and others. Her sound is like a next generation, female Jackson Browne. She released her first album "Smoke Rises" in February of this year.


And thank you to the other 2016 finalists
(shown here in random order):

Sandy Hathaway Chandler, AZ
Sandy Hathaway’s songs touch the heart. Her colorful lyrics draw the listener into intimate stories about her childhood, growing up on a farm and relationships. Seasoned guitarist and beautiful, soulful vocals draw listeners to her live shows. Songwriting influences include Gillian Welch, Lucy Kaplansky, Joni Mitchell, Dar Williams, Patty Griffin, Ben Harper . She was Top Ten Finalist in 2004, Honorable Mention 2006 & 2014. Releasing new EP Red Sky at Morning

Norm Pratt Cave Creek, Arizona
It's not a simple thing to describe exactly what Norm's music sounds like. Drawing on a diverse musical background you can hear remnants of familiar voices, yet the originality of Norm's music stands alone. One element that you can distinguish clearly is Norm's music come from the heart. Norm performs regularly in a trio with Tucson legend Bob Meighan as well as performing solo.

Sabrina & Craig Woodland Hills, CA
Sabrina & Craig's signature sound is rooted in luscious harmonies. Their heartfelt vocal connection is anchored by Craig's masterfully-crafted guitar voicings while Sabrina's bass, ukulele and percussion expand the dimension of their performances. The duo builds on its strong musicality with lyric writing that is sophisticated and at turns whimsical and heartbreaking. Craig's straight-up, storyteller style perfectly complements Sabrina -- whether she's sweet, sassy, silly, or soulful.

Jed Marum & Melissa Tatum Tucson, AZ
Jed Marum is a singer, songwriter and performer of Celtic Folk. His music has been licensed for use in a number of film and TV projects. Reflected in Jed’s song writing is a keen interest in history and the passing of culture from generation to generation. Melissa Tatum is a Tucson-based songwriter whose songs range from quirky slice-of-life to historical ballads.

Jaspar Lepak Seattle, WA
Folk/Americana songstress whose gift for melody is only surpassed by her poetry. Accompanied by her husband, Kale Lepak, on accordion and harmonies, Lepak sings with a brave vulnerability, and her clear, pure voice touches the heart. A child of the Sonoran Desert, her songs find inspiration from the places she has called home: Tucson, Minneapolis, Durban, and currently Seattle. “You’ll find more than enough beauty and original charm to make you a fan.” (Rolling Stone South Africa)

Allison Giuliano North Smithfield, RI - Rhode Island
Allison is a Rhode Island native singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is turning heads in her local music scene with her heartfelt lyrics, pure voice, and a solid serving of humor and sass. She was chosen as one of four finalists in the Rhode Island Songwriter Association's 2015 Performing Songwriter Competition, and is in the process of recording her debut CD, “Hope,” scheduled for release in early 2016.

Eric Schaffer tucson, az
Raised in the swamps of New Jersey (really!), Eric Schaffer started writing songs while working the Jersey club circuit in the 1970's. His songs are known for their thoughtful lyrics and are rooted in the traditions of folk-rock. Check out Eric Schaffer & The Other Troublemakers at venues throughout the Tucson area.