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  • 01/26/2014 11:09 PM | Deleted user

    MASC Grand Prize winner Becky Warren was a special guest at the January SAW Toolbox Session. Becky’s “I’ve Been Thinking About Mexico” took Gold in the Adult Contemporary category and also the Grand Prize. As an additional surprise, her touring companion, Ben de la Cour also shared the “dais” at the Toolbox. Both are based in Nashville and performed that evening at the Iota Club.

    Becky and Ben shared many insights into their songwriting lives. While differing greatly in their writing process, the two share a strong admiration for each other’s work. By the end of the session, that sentiment was widely shared among the 20 or so attendees.

    Becky’s songs are earthy and concise, deceptively simple and finely tooled. She played a couple of songs from a concept album she is writing about a returning veteran, a subject about which she is passionate.

    Ben’s songs are somewhat more impressionistic, although also carefully crafted. Both struck this writer as exceptionally literate, articulate, and wise beyond their years.

    The SAW Toolbox is held every fourth Saturday, hosted by Kevin Dudley at the Convergence Lab in Alexandria . Check the SAW Calendar for details.

  • 01/26/2014 10:56 PM | Deleted user

    Dear SAW  Family,


    We’re off to a fantastic start in 2014 – if you haven’t been following the SAW web site or Facebook, you’ve missed out on what your SAW has been up to.   The 30th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (MASC) GALA Awards Program at Jammin’ Java was a huge success  thanks to our own Loralyn Coles, MASC Director and her Assistant, Suzanne Ives.  If you were in the audience, you’d never know the hundreds of minute details our MASC directors have to coordinate for it to come across so professional  – everything from communicating with sponsors and judges,  coordinating volunteers,  creating award certificates, designing the award program, writing the script, producing and distributing the compilation CD and so much more.   Simply outstanding ladies!  I also want to thank everyone who helped throughout the evening from the front door to back stage, from ticket and CD sales to Facebook posting – it was a great effort by everyone.


    To top it off, yesterday seems to have been a SAW day for me.  I began by attending the Songwriter’s Toolbox hosted by Kevin Dudley – it was an outstanding program with guest artists Becky Warren and Ben De La Cour, both from Nashville.  Then at 2:30 I drove over to a homeless shelter in Reston to join more SAW members at the SAW Serves “Feed and Play” that our own Ricardo White coordinates.  Ricardo will tell you more about that in a minute – it was both rewarding and priceless.   


    I hope each of you can find time to participate and enjoy in many of these activities – for the shortest month of the year, Feb. can seem a little long at times so check the SAW calendar and participate in one of our many events to brighten up the month!  


    Speaking of the SAW web site, our calendar, Facebook, and keeping in contact with you,  your Board recently voted to implement a new communications plan that will give us a new look and feel.  We’ll keep you informed with the transition but you’ll notice that it’s going to be more interactive, more timely, and more member-focused.  As always, if you have suggestion as to how SAW can better meet your needs, let us know.


    All my best ,

    Rob Veale

    SAW President

  • 12/30/2013 9:15 PM | Deleted user
    A packed crowd of SAW “Boardies” and friends turned out to honor Jean Bayou for her long service to SAW at a special SAW Board Meeting and celebration at Epicure Café on 22 Nov. As a former Mid-Atlantic Song Contest Director and SAW President for the last 8 years, Jean was honored, roasted, and serenaded well into the night. Following a great dinner and short business meeting the festivities and Bayou-roasting commenced. Current and former board members, SAW Associates, and close friends made this a super special occasion.

    As Jean reminded us, we seek the comfort of coming together in song. I wish everyone could have been there. 

  • 12/30/2013 7:29 PM | Deleted user
    Dear SAW Family,

    Hope you all had a very wonderful Holiday Season and you’re ready for a great 2014. Over the past year, many of you had a hand in making SAW what we are and it is only through your contributions of time and talent that we were able to offer so many wonderful events. I’ve seen the commitment to continue in 2014 and I think we may even do this year improving our craft, sharing our talents, and giving back to the community.

    By the time you read this, the winners of the 30th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest should be announced. Check out the web site because you’ll see a notice that the 30th MASC Award Night Gala is scheduled to take place at Jammin’ Java in Vienna on Sunday, January 19, 2014 starting at 6:30 p.m. It’s always a magical evening of music, camaraderie and fun! Congratulations and thanks to all whom entered this year’s song contest! Mark your calendars and get your tickets now.

    The short notice, 2nd Sat Open Mic Holiday Party in Dec was a great success in spite of the weather. I know that there were more than a few of you who wanted to come but were thwarted by the weather. It was such a great evening that we came to the realization we should try to have more SAW events for the membership, other than just our annual membership meeting. That said, we are starting to plan something for the spring. If you have some ideas or want to help in the planning, please contact me. 

    I’m excited about 2014! We’ll be expanding our SAW Serves Mission and that will present some great opportunities to participate, perform, and show our community that we care. We will also continue to pursue opportunities for us to hone our songwriting and performance skills. Don’t forget the SAW’s Toolbox Sessions on 4th Saturdays, our Critique Session and Open Mic on 2nd Saturdays, and all the other Song Circles, open mics, and showcase opportunities. Please, please, please . . . Check the calendar at regularly!

    All my best for the New Year. I look forward to seeing you soon!
    Rob Veale, SAW President |

  • 12/30/2013 7:25 PM | Deleted user
    By Amy Lowenstein
    On November 23rd, SAW sponsored a concert to benefit the Lyons, Colorado Community Foundation. ( Lyons was devastated by flood waters on September 12th 2013. Lyons is the home of Planet Bluegrass ( and a vibrant music community. Many of us have strong ties of friendship and respect for that community of fellow musicians. The concert generated over $1,000 in donations for the Lyons Community Foundation. The concert was produced by Larry Mediate with the assistance of Amy Lowenstein.
    SAW members Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers related accounts of the near total destruction of the town’s infrastructure during their SAW concert series performance in September. A brief phone conversation between Larry and SAW Serves coordinator Richard White was all it took to get the ball rolling. It all came together as planned although Cindi Slaughter was unable to make it to Northern Virginia for the show as scheduled, Ladies Done Waiting graciously filled in with a great set of music.

    Gratitude and respect to these performers and volunteers:
    Ladies Done Waiting (Chris Anderson, Kathleen
    Hubert, and Kim Melton)
    Jean Bayou (with Jim Clark and Ron Goad)
    Tom Bodine, Marcy Cochran and Scott Malyszka
    T. Edwin Doss
    Jim and Ashley Cash
    Michael Bowers
    Larry Mediate, Jim Clark, Niels Jonker (with Ron
    Caron Dale (Master of Ceremonies)
    Jim Johnson (Stage Manager and live sound mix)
    Richard (Cardo) White (Live sound mix)
    Ron Goad (Percussion and color commentary)
    Amy Lowenstein (Logistics and attention to detail)
    Larry Mediate (Sound / lighting systems and volunteer
    Special thanks to Pastor Stephan Smith-Cobbs and
    Trinity Presbyterian Church of Herndon.

  • 10/29/2013 11:48 PM | Deleted user
    “Sing What You Mean/Mean What You Sing”
    Monday, November 11 | 4 p.m. | BREWER’S ALLEY, 124 N. Market St,
    FREDERICK MD 21701
    Limted Spaces @ $25
    Contact for reservations: Roderick Deacey

    Are your songs a little down in the mouth?
    Is your performance a little lackluster?
    Is your between-song banter in need of help?
    You need to come and see the Song Doctor...

    Amy Speace will be conducting her highly regarded workshop on songwriting and performance “Sing What You Mean/Mean What You Sing” at Brewer’s Alley in Frederick MD on November 11 at 4 pm. This interactive workshop is designed to improve all aspects of the singer-songwriter’s craft, and helps attendees develop both their songwriting and their presentation of the written song. Amy is known as a riveting performer of her own excellent songs, and is the “song doctor” for American Songwriter Magazine. 

    This workshop is presented by Brewer’s Alley Songwriters’ Showcase and precedes Amy Speace’s appearance as the featured songwriter in the Showcase held that evening. There are a limited number of places at the special price of $25. E-mail Roderick Deacey at for reservations.
  • 10/29/2013 11:46 PM | Deleted user
    On October 19th, a team of SAW volunteers grilled burgers and hot dogs, and served up a nice meal for the 90 clients and staff at the men’s shelter in Rockville, Maryland. Once the men were fed, the cooks brought out their guitars and did a 2 hour show in the lunchroom for the clients. It was a wonderful event for all. In addition, a one-year membership to SAW was given away in a random drawing. The client who won said he would pass on the gift to a young music student. I offer thanks to the following SAW members who went above and beyond with their help: Larry Mediate (P/A set up, and set), Les Hatley (cook, set); Jean Bayou (cook, set) and Jim and Ashley Cash (cook, set). Also helping with the food, Amina Bayou, and on grill and guitar, Mark Lovett.

    We are planning a Winter event in December or January at a Virginia shelter. To help us, please consider a cash donation to SAW earmarked for “SAW Serves”, or, a donation of help and/or music for an upcoming event. Together, we can put food in hungry mouths, and music in hungry ears!
  • 10/29/2013 11:41 PM | Deleted user
    Dear SAW members,

    Once again many SAW members will participate in this year’s Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) conference, Nov 7 – 10, in Kerhonkson, NY. Year by year SAW recognition increases at NERFA through showcasing both our members and Mid-Atlantic Song Contest winners in our two showcase rooms--affectionately called The House and The Senate. This is sure to be another great event with little chance for sleep during the four-day conference highlighting music, workshops,
    mentor sessions, and displays.

    Last month I said we’re working on ways to improve communications, to bring our membership more useful information, and to deliver that information in ways that make sense and are timely. I also asked you to send me your inputs at —your concerns, insights, requirements, etc.—well keep them coming because you’re helping us focus on what we need to be doing.

    To this end, you may notice some changes in the next couple of months—website, educational opportunities, etc. Some inputs we’re considering include expanding workshops for beginners and dealing with collaboration. Other concerns that caught my eye are how to integrate new members, schedule workshops that are led by Grammy Winning songwriters, and increasing the focus on jazz, pop, and country—all great ideas.

    Well, thank you, Education Director Patty Reese for your clairvoyance - hopefully some of you took the opportunity to participate in the multiple Grammy winning Gary Nicholson workshop and performance in Oct. If you did, let us know what you thought—this was a super bargain for SAW members so I hope you took advantage of it.

    Check out the Nov happenings and get out there and have some fun. As I said, we’re looking to bring you more useful and timely information. To do this, we can really use someone who’s willing to lead the effort of birthing this new baby - no it isn’t as hard or complicated as it sounds - in fact, I was wondering what level of effort it might take to coordinate content and increase the usefulness of our SAW newsletter -- so I spent about 10 minutes and reached out to three different people, all having the skills to write and provide a meaningful and relevant article, and I asked if they’d be willing to be a contributor—they all said yes! I know we can make our SAW Notes more engaging and useful to you—Then I thought what fun it might be to read some stories from other SAW members on what motivates them and how SAW has helped them—Testimony Time! So ... I wondered how hard this might be to try out and decided to include my own experience in this issue just to give you an idea of the many different things we might be able to include in our newsletter.

    I think this could really be a lot of fun for a SAW member who wants to make a huge impact on the SAW newsletter—Could that person be you? If you might be interested, just e-mail and express your interest.

    Rob Veale, President |
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