BMI Foundation Announces Winners of 2nd Annual John Lennon Scholarship

Posted in News on June 11, 1999

$15,000 in Prizes Awarded to Students Anne Chandler and David Ragland

NEW YORK, June 11, 1999 – BMI Foundation, Inc. President Theodora Zavin today announced the first and second place winners of the John Lennon Scholarship. They are Berklee College of Music junior Anne Chandler, who will receive the Grand Prize of $10,000 for her song “Just For Tonight,” and University of Arizona Outreach Choir student David Ragland, who will be awarded $5,000 for his piece “I Don’t Have the Blues.”

Established in 1997 by Yoko Ono, the Lennon Scholarship recognizes the talent of young songwriters between the ages of 15 and 24. The two top songs as well as three “Honorable Mentions” were chosen from nominations sent in by 20 of the 37 eligible schools and youth orchestras from across the nation. The judges included Suzan Jenkins, Executive Director of America’s Jazz Heritage program at the Smithsonian Institute, legendary record producer Arif Mardin, and multiple Tony award winner and theater composer Maury Yeston.

Grand Prize winner Anne Chandler is a singer/songwriter who has spent the last three years on the Boston folk music scene, honing her skills at Berklee and playing to enthusiastic audiences throughout the area. Chandler, who is described by Mardin as “showing real career potential” and by Jenkins as “having an exceptionally strong sense of melody,” will continue to study at Berklee for the next year. A well-rounded musician and a thoughtful lyricist, her winning song “Just for Tonight” is, according to Yeston, “professionally written, deeply felt and very original.”

Second place winner David Ragland sings bass in the University of Arizona’s Outreach Choir, a program for outstanding high school musicians. Currently a senior at Tuscon High School, Ragland plans to attend UA’s School of Music and Dance to study music education.

Songs earning an Honorable Mention included “A Coven of Coyotes” by Oberlin College Conservatory of Music sophomore Walter Scharold, “I Cannot Lie to You” by New England Conservatory student Andreea Pauta, and “Trust and Promises,” co-written by Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts students Cara Liguori and William Shih. Last year’s winner and the first recipient of the John Lennon Scholarship was LaGuardia High School candidate Aimée Sims for “A Place To Belong.”

“The Foundation expresses its deepest gratitude to Yoko’s steadfast support and incredible generosity to the endowment of this scholarship, which has allowed us to increase this year’s prize to $10,000 and to include a second prize of $5,000 as well,” said Zavin. “We are extremely pleased to see this program developing and gaining real momentum.”

Founded in 1985 by BMI Senior Vice President Theodora Zavin, the BMI Foundation, Inc. offers grants which make possible the continuation and development of creative programs for the composition of new music and the performance of these new compositions. With the aid of the distinguished writers, composers and publishers who serve on the Foundation’s Advisory Panel and the executive staff from BMI who serve as its officers, the Foundation’s grants offer a platform of support that fosters the growth of young composers and ensures the continuation of the heritage of American musical ingenuity for generations to come.

BMI, founded in 1939, is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music. Through its music performance and reciprocal agreements, it grants businesses and media access to its repertoire of more than 6.5 million musical works from around the world.