Musicians, poets wanted for Washburn song contest

To celebrate Washburn’s upcoming sesquicentennial, a competition is being held to create a new school song celebrating all things Bod. 

“With the 150th anniversary coming up, we thought it’d be an interesting vehicle to test out this neat creative project,” said Gordon McQuere, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The competition is being held in two phases, a lyrics competition and a music competition. Phase one, the lyrics contest, is taking place this semester. A special committee will be reviewing submissions for memorable and singable lyrics. Lyrics for the new school song must be versatile enough for any occasion, and should have two to three verses. 

“Some popular themes to follow include overcoming struggle and adversity, or being in praise of the school,” said Tom Averill, English professor and member of the committee. “The typical celebratory themes will work great.”

The deadline for the lyrics contest is April 1. Any student, employee, alumnus or friend of the university is eligible to participate. A cash prize of $500 will be awarded for the winning lyrics, and the winner will work with Dr. Tony Silvestri over the summer to fine-tune their song. Silvestri, a lecturer in history at Washburn, is an award-winning lyricist who has worked with composers worldwide.

“We’re lucky to have such talented folks on board for this project,” said McQuere.

So far there have been no submissions, according to Averill. However, a background in music is not required in order to submit. 

“We’re eager to read submissions,” said Averill. “Anybody who fancies themselves a poet or just feels creative can submit. It’s completely open to the public.”

The second phase of the competition has a deadline of April 1, 2014. A formal introduction of the new song will occur during the sesquicentennial celebration of the university in 2015. After that, the winning submissions become the property of Washburn, and the school has a new song to commemorate a special occasion.

“This school’s been around a long time,” said McQuere. “That’s quite an accomplishment in itself.”

Averill hopes the song contest will “catch people’s interest,” and that people will “take a few minutes” and take advantage of the creative opportunity.

“Nobody assigned us to do this,” said Averill. “We’re the College of Arts and Sciences. Creating things is what we do, and we want others to join us in creating something to honor Washburn.”

Email submissions to [email protected]