The winners of the BMI Foundation’s 12th Annual John Lennon Scholarships, a program that recognizes the best and brightest young songwriters between the ages of 15 and 24, were announced today by Samantha Cox, Director of the competition. Jacqueline Wisot, a musician and songwriter currently attending Belmont University, won first place and a $10,000 scholarship for her song "Firefly." The Pennsylvania native was honored during the BMI Pop Awards ceremony held May 19 in Los Angeles.
Two Catawba College students tied for second place: Maryland native Katie Bragg won for her song “Unbreakable,” and Texan Mason Jewett won for “Devil Sunday”; each received a $2,500 scholarship. There was also a tie for third place: Weber State University student Sean Bishop was awarded a $2,500 scholarship for the song “The Real Me,” and co-scribes Dusti Kemp and Jessica Drake were each awarded $1,250 scholarships for “Time to Miss You.”
The 2009 judges included Universal Music Publishing Sr. VP Jennifer Blakeman; Warner Chappell Director, Creative Peter Visvardis; Kobalt Music Publishing VP Sharon Tapper; and EMI Music Publishing Director, Creative Jake Ottmann. The preliminary judging panel included Samantha Cox and Charlie Feldman, both from BMI's New York-based Writer/Publisher Relations team. Thousands of students representing schools from every state participated.
Established by Yoko Ono in 1997 in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, the John Lennon Scholarships have been made possible through generous donations from Ono with matching funds from Gibson Musical Instruments. More than $225,000 has been awarded over the last 11 years to students from select colleges, universities and music schools, and from national submissions from the National Association of Music Education/MENC chapters.
The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation come primarily from songwriters, composers and publishers, BMI employees and members of the public with a special interest in music. Because both the Foundation staff and the distinguished members of the Advisory Panel serve without compensation, over 95% of all donations and income are used for charitable grants.