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Talented teens win big in Chilliwack Optimist songwriting contest

A handful of young artists walked away with cash prizes following the Optimist Club of Chilliwack’s inaugural Youth Songwriting Contest.
Sariah Loewen (pictured) and Rianna Onos placed first in the Youth Songwriting Contest.

A handful of young artists walked away with cash prizes following the Optimist Club of Chilliwack’s inaugural Youth Songwriting Contest at the Acoustic Emporium on Thursday.

The students delighted the audience with their unique performances and all three judges, Fred Webber, Debora Soutar and Doug Wickers, agreed that it was difficult to choose a winner.

Placing first were Grade 10 Chilliwack secondary students Sariah Loewen and Rianna Onos with their heartfelt song, Break.

“I wrote this song for people who really have no one to lean on and to show them that there’s always someone you can trust in life,” says Sariah, who wrote the lyrics.

Rianna helped put Sariah’s lyrics to music by using a computer to put the melody together. She has been using a computer to compose songs for a year now but this was her first original composition with Sariah.

The two won the Optimist Club’s $1,000 grand prize which they will share. In addition to the cash prize, the duo will also receive a video recording session by Jeff Bonner at Tractorgrease Studio which will be posted on Youtube.

They will also be invited to open an upcoming event at The Acoustic Emporium on Wellington Avenue (The Vineyard) performing their original song.

Second place went to Carmelle Soleil who played the ukulele and sang an inspiring tune titled One Star. She won $500.

Casey Anderson on drums and Alex Rowland on guitar performed a song they co-wrote called, Should I Pull the Pin. The two Grade 10 students formed a band called Questionable Ego two months ago and performed their first original tune at the contest. Their alternative rock performance earned them third place and $250.

Eleven-year-old Cadence Sherwood placed fourth and won $50 for her song, Say Hello.

Optimist Club member, Nancy Guitar, came up with the idea a few months ago to create an event to showcase young songwriters and musicians in our community.

“Considering this was a new venture for our club I think it went very well. Next year we hope to have an even bigger audience and more contestants,” says Guitar. “Where else can you go for a wonderful night of music and desserts for free?”

“I am really impressed by the talent, confidence, and poise these kids possess at such a young age. We are already looking forward to next year’s competition,” says Optimist Club member Glenda Standeven, who also emceed the event.

For information about the Optimist Club of Chilliwack email