by Robert Bell
ALCHEMY SONGWRITING COMPETITION
7:30 p.m. Hendrix College's Worsham Hall. $10.
Blackbird Academy of the Arts is a nonprofit arts education program based in Conway that offers affordable classes for all ages, with a curriculum that runs the gamut from visual arts to music and dance to filmmaking and creative writing. Founder Jennie Strange got the idea for the school a few years ago, but now it's a 6,000-square foot building with a staff of 23 that offers full and partial scholarships.
The Alchemy Songwriting Competition is a fundraiser for the nonprofit. Ten finalists will perform their songs for the judges, who include Kris Allen, the Conway native and American Idol winner; David Hodges, a Little Rock native who's earned Grammys for his work with Evanescence and Kelly Clarkson, and Andy Davis, a former marketing exec who is involved with several music-centered nonprofits.
Of the finalists, six are from Arkansas and the other four are from Amherst, N.Y., Ontario, Alexandria, Va. and Bidnija, Malta, respectively. The grand prize is an expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to record the winning song in a studio with producers Ryan Peterson and Nolan Sipe. Proceeds from the competition, including entry fees, sponsorships and showcase tickets, will benefit Blackbird Academy.