Song writing contest for local youth

By Lindsay Advocate

Front row, left to right: Lincoln Rose, Gavin Clause, Kaleb Cramm. Back row: Taliah McNelly, Jaxon Carter. Artemis Chartier, right, is offering a free songwriting program for local youth.

What messages do today’s teens have the potential to share? Given the chance, infinite ideas. That’s according to Artemis Chartier, retired high school teacher and co-founder of a free songwriting program which ran in Durham from 2003-2020. For 18 years, after caring mentors offered no-cost songwriting workshops and safe creative spaces for young writers, Chartier and program co-founder, Dale Russell, also organized free, annual song contests.

This tradition continues with the launch of a new free songwriting program for local students: The Kawartha Lakes Alliance of Singer-Songwriters (KLASS). Chartier has been visiting area schools this spring, encouraging teens in their melodic and lyrical self-expression. Although she believes that the main prize for any contestant will always be the new friendships and connections that youth can form, awards for this first KLASS contest will also include: $500 from the Kawartha Art Gallery (KAG), a new acoustic guitar from Bob Connors, a studio recording or music video from Artemis Music, and a chance to open for stellar singer-songwriters at  KAG’s new Music Series this fall.

To enter, Kawartha Lakes residents aged 10-18 can send lyrics, a cell phone recording of their original song, and an entry form to   by midnight on August 15, 2024.  Young people retain full ownership of their entries and copyright (creative rights) will be safeguarded throughout the process. Another positive outcome of entering up to two songs in this contest will be private, written feedback offered to each entrant on what professional musicians most appreciated about their song(s). For more information and entry forms, write to Chartier at .

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