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June 24 “Songwriters in Concert” event will showcase 13 emerging songwriters

EVANSTON, Ill. - The 12th annual Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project participants will take residency at Northwestern University from June 18 through June 24 for an intensive week-long program of master classes and workshops that culminate with a public concert.

Chosen from a record-breaking competitive pool of 131 applicants, the 13 emerging professional songwriters work in a variety of musical genres including pop, music theatre, jazz, R&B, traditional folk, rock, classical impressionism, and alt-country.

Participants will work with returning master teachersTony Award-nominated composer and lyricist Craig Carnelia, and three-time Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Lari White, along with first-time master teacher Tony and Grammy-nominated songwriter Stephen Bray.

“Songwriters in Concert,” a public showcase of new work, will take place June 24 at 8 p.m. at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus.

The concert kicks off the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts’ 2017 SummerStage season. Single tickets are available for $10 - $30 on the Wirtz Center Box Office website.

Since its inception in 2005, the Songwriters Project at Northwestern has shaped and inspired the next generation of professional songwriters.

“During the first decade of the Johnny Mercer Foundation’s Songwriters Project, many of its participants have gone on to achieve success in theatre, television and the pop field. We look forward to another year of working with the rising talent that this program nurtures,” said Johnny Mercer Foundation Board Member Michael Kerker.

Artists who have emerged from the project are the Oscar-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land” and 2017 Tony-nomination for Best Musical for “Dear Evan Hansen”), Fred Ebb Award winner Sam Willmot (“Standardized Testing --- The Musical!!!!”), Latin Grammy Award-winner Obie Bermudez (Best Male Pop Vocal Album, “Todo el Año”) and Billboard Latin Music Award-winner Jennifer Peña (“Libre”).

The 2017 Songwriters Project participants, who range in age from 19 to 29, are Joey Contreras, Kala Farnham, Elliah Heifetz, Oliver Houser, Evangeline Joy, Matthew Dean Marsh, Adrianna Mateo, Andy Roninson, Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez, Ava Suppelsa, Carter Vail and songwriting team Katie and Emma Hathaway.

Program costs, housing, and travel for participants are generously underwritten by The Johnny Mercer Foundation.

More information is available on the Songwriters Project website.

The Johnny Mercer Foundation

The mission of the Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook as exemplified by the life and work of the legendary Johnny Mercer: lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator, and producer. The Foundation continues Johnny’s legacy by partnering with individuals and organizations dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the disciplines he mastered and the causes he and his wife Ginger Mercer championed.

JMF has created a number of dynamic creative joint ventures with several prestigious institutions to facilitate its goals including the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, Accentuate The Positive Programs (New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami), The Musical Theater Program at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Georgia State University Fellowship Program, Florida International University Fellowship Program, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project with Northwestern University .and the Johnny Mercer Archives at Georgia State University. In addition, JMF supports various charitable causes including UCLA’s Art of the Brain, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program) and the Braille Institute (Johnny Mercer Children and Adult Choirs).

For more information please visit the Johnny Mercer Foundation website.

Johnny Mercer

The legendary Johnny Mercer (1900-1976) composed more than 1,400 songs, including “Accentuate the Positive,” “Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread),” “Any Place to Hang My Hat Is Home,” “Too Marvelous for Words” and “Come Rain or Come Shine.” He also wrote songs for 100 motion pictures and won four “Best Song” Academy Awards. A top radio personality and recording artist, he was also the co-founder and president of Capitol Records and established the Songwriters Hall of Fame with Abe Olman and Howie Richmond.

American Music Theatre Project

The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University brings together the nation’s leading artists in music theatre to work with Northwestern’s faculty and students. AMTP’s goal is to nourish and invigorate American music theatre by developing and producing new musicals; increasing opportunities for education and training with Northwestern’s theatre, music theatre and dance programs; and creating new connections between professional and academic communities.

To learn more visit the AMTP website.

The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theatre, dance and visual arts.

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