GWU Distinguished Artist Series Hosts Event for Aspiring Songwriters

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Accomplished Composers Will Share Advice and Critique Compositions

Singer, songwriter Steve Simpson posing with his guitar
Steve Simpson is the coordinator of the Southern Songwriters Association (SSA).

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Aspiring songwriters will have the opportunity to share their compositions with several award-winning composers in a workshop and concert at Gardner-Webb University on Jan. 11, 2020. Presented by the School of Performing and Visual Arts Distinguished Artists Series, the free event features members of the Southern Songwriters Association (SSA).

The workshop is open to the public and will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Gardner Recital Hall in the O. Max Gardner building. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. in Blanton Auditorium, located in Hamrick Hall.

“Workshop topics include song structure, rhyming, lyrics, chord progressions, singable choruses, royalties, copyright, performing, song ideas and the process of writing a song,” related Dr. Patricia Sparti, GWU professor of music and chair of the Distinguished Artists Committee. “After a break for dinner that includes a song circle and critique session, the concert follows.”

The clinicians include Steve Simpson, SSA coordinator, Sarah Geis Williams, Bruce B.K. Keedy, Al Lemmond, Karen Nason, Fiona McAllister, and Diana Wade. These singer/songwriters have decades of experience as songwriters, performers and several have recorded in Nashville.  They have performed at the prestigious Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tenn., have played on the WSM Radio, home of the grand Ole Opry, and also regularly perform at venues all over the Carolinas.  They have also won numerous songwriting competitions and awards.

For more information and to register for the event, email Sparti at or text 704.466.4710. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704-406-2155 or email with your request.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at