Part musical showcase, part American Idol, the Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards is a step on the path toward a music career for some local songwriters. Founded by Bethesda resident Cathy Bernard in 2015 to honor her uncle, Broadway songwriter Fred Ebb, the contest offers songwriters from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., a chance to win $10,000 and 25 hours of time in a recording studio. After a panel of music industry judges chooses finalists, the competition culminates with a concert at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. Competitors range from teens to seasoned professionals, and styles include everything from show tunes to rock. Judges provide instant feedback and name the grand-prize winner. Participants have gone on to pursue careers in Nashville, study at Berklee College of Music and perform at local venues such as Amp by Strathmore in North Bethesda and D.C.’s 9:30 Club. 2015 winner Owen Danoff competed on season 10 of The Voice.
Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards, March 2, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, bethesda.org