Vt. student band reaches finals of International Songwriting Competition

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 3:45 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:30 PM EDT
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LYNDON, Vt. (WCAX) - There’s excitement in the air in Lyndon as the Kingdom All Stars band awaits the results of the 2022 International Songwriting Competition. Competing against others from as close as Massachusetts and as far as China, music celebrating Vermont could take the number one spot.

“Willoughby Nights” is a top 13 contender in the International Songwriting Competition based out of Nashville.

“I haven’t heard the others but I don’t think it matters because we’re going to win,” said Addison Scott, a seventh-grader at Miller’s Run.

Scott is a member of the nonprofit Kingdom All Stars band who played violin for the song.

“It was a great experience going with the band and practicing with them and hearing all of them play together and then hearing the song finally come together was really nice,” she said.

The song was a collaborative effort between six of the band’s eight members.

While they have adult support, the kids do all of the work.

“It’s sort of like a whole band effort to make the song come to life,” said Zane Mawhinney, a senior at Lyndon Institute, who was tapped by songwriter Jazmine Bogie to play guitar for the song. “It was more coming up with different parts on guitar just to accentuate the frame that Jazmine had come up with.”

His sister Macey got put on backup vocals.

“I heard Jazmine perform it a few times with no backup vocals at a few of the concerts, and so while I was listening, I was offstage and kind of humming and coming up with ideas,” said Macey Mawhinney, a sophomore at Lyndon Institute.

But for Jazmine Bogie, an 11th-grader at Lyndon Institute, the song came from the heart and fond memories of Lake Willoughby.

“I just really love it and I think it’s such a gift to live somewhere so beautiful,” she said. “I wanted to capture it in a song.”

Bogie has been songwriting for about four years now. While she’s excited the band made the top picks, she says the implications of making it to the finals is the best part.

“A lot of people are going to be hearing my song, a lot of big artists like Mariah Carey and Lumineers and Coldplay, and I think that’s very awesome for just a couple kids from Vermont,” Bogie said.

Now, there’s not much to do but wait until the decisions come out.

“But we’ll keep writing and we’ll keep playing and just hope that this little song has what it takes,” Bogie said.

While the Kingdom All Stars have made it to the semifinal round of competition before, this is their first time as a finalist. They find out who wins in May.

Students Owen Marcotte and Liza Morse are also members of the Kingdom All Stars.