The song contest judging

 The song contest was open for submissions from January 15 until September 30, 2018. The top entries were selected by a panel of four judges that included two men and two women. They are:

George Hewison, a former British Columbian who lives in Bobcaygeon, Ontario is a labour singer and songwriter, a longtime union leader and union educator who created and taught a course in labour music for several years at the CAW (now Unifor) national education centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.

Roger Holdstock is a songwriter and singer and a member for more than 30 years of the one of the province’s best-known folk groups, Fraser Union.

Karla Mundy is a songwriter, a performer in numerous vocal groups, including TriVo and the Tanglewood Trio, the leader of several popular Vancouver choirs, and a much sought-after choral workshop director.

Peggy Hua, whose background and training is in classical choral music, covers many more genres as the director of the Left Coast Labour Chorus, the B.C. Chinese Orchestra and the Downton Singers.   

Below:  Second prize when for What’s it All For?  by co-writers Michael Averill (centre)  and Kas Baker (left); presented by Barb Coward (right) on behalf of prize sponsor, the Left Coast Labour Chorus. 

Below: Third prize winner, Bobbi-Jo Moore (left), presented on behalf of prize sponsor, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators, by Bill Burgess (right)

Below (left to right);

Lyndsay Wills, winner of first prize

Sean Griffin, Left Coast Labour Chorus

Sandra Kucheran, UNIFOR Local 114, sponsor of first prize.

Four top winners

named in 2018  song contest

 A standing room-only crowd was on hand in Vancouver’s Russian Hall Nov. 18 as the Left Coast Labour Chorus announced the winners of the We Do The Work song contest and handed our prizes to four top winners.

 In the end, it was the upbeat melodic lines of Lyndsay Wills song 9:30 at the Factory — about her daughter’s work as an apprenticing baker— that captured the greatest attention of the judges and won her first place and a $1,500 prize. Wills accepted award from Chorus vice-president Sean Griffin and Sandra Kucheran, executive member of Unifor Local 114 which, together with Unifor National, had put up $1,000 of the prize. 

First prize winner, Lyndsay Wills, for 9.30 At The Factory

The song contest, aimed at inspiring new songs about contemporary working life, was launched in January and wound up in October, after nearly 2 ½ months of judging.

 The panel of four judges gave second place to the starkly evocative song What’s it All For? — by co-writers Michael Averill and Kas Baker — about the precarious, low-wage work that currently provides the only employment option for young workers.

 The ranking was a lot closer for thirds place and judges decided they had two winners in Bobbi-Jo Moore’s anthemic song Together We Stand and Thomas Kueck’s poetic One Voice and decided to declare a third-place tie. The Federation of Post-Secondary Employees of B.C. stepped up to provide $300 to fund an additional third prize.

 The four songwriters each performed a set, including their winning song, at the concert Nov. 18. The event also featured the premiere of Yours, in Revolt, Ginger?, a new short play about the events surrounding the murder of the union organizer and anti-conscription activist, created by The Troika Collective.

 Below: Third prize winner Thomas Kueck (left), presented on behalf of prize sponsor, the Left Coast Labour Chorus , by Susan Weber (right)

Beyond the four winning songs, the contest touched off a creative spark that could see more new songs about work — and more songwriters looking to that theme for inspiration.

 Averill and Baker told the audience they spent hours in the SOCAN library going through the songs offered as past examples of contemporary work songs, immersing themselves in the audio files. “We didn’t have any experience with unions, but Kas had worked at  hard labour and the contest created the way to put that experience into music,” Averill said.

 Thomas Kuecks added that the contest had been a catalyst for him. “The contest has definitely inspired this songwriter,” he said. ”I look forward to doing more writing in this genre.”