Corey Nolen Music wins Alys Stephens Center’s Make Music Alabama competition

Nolen’s song “Mend the Heart of Dixieland” was selected to win, while Clinton Babers II and his song “Here in Alabama” were chosen as second-place finalist and best live performance.

corey nolanCorey NolenCorey Nolen Music of Birmingham won the Make Music Alabama songwriting competition held Saturday, June 20, at the LOCAL festival presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Nolen’s band performed his song “Mend the Heart of Dixieland” at the free community music and family-friendly festival and was awarded $1,000. The second-place finalist was Clinton Babers II of Montgomery, who performed his song “Here in Alabama” and was awarded $500. Babers also won the “Best Live Performance” award and an additional $500.

The ASC set out in January to search for original songs about living in Alabama for the competition, and 45 songs were submitted to the ASC’s Make Music Alabama YouTube channel. The finalists were chosen by the ASC’s panel of judges, Eric Essix, Scott Register, Daniel Beard, Carla Jean Whitley and Jeffery Cain, who were selected based on their credentials and their ability to contribute to fostering musicians and artists in Alabama.

clinton babersClinton BabersIn May, the judges selected six finalists from the submissions to perform at LOCAL. The other finalists were Gary Glover, “Alabama Bound”; Adam Hood, “Somewhere In Alabama”; Michaela Parker, “Heart of Dixie”; and The Wildwood Ruminators, “Alabama.” Each of the other four finalists was awarded $250.

Produced and presented by the ASC, the second annual LOCAL festival celebrated everything Alabama. A crowd of more than 1,500 people attended the LOCAL festival and enjoyed Alabama goods and edibles from vendors and food trucks.

ArtPlay, the Alys Stephens Center’s home for arts education, sponsored a student Make Music Alabama competition for children. One school went above and beyond and had three submissions. Students Katie Deter, Brennan Walker and Hailey Farris, all students from Red Mountain Community School, contributed a song and two poems, respectively. Their classroom will win the songwriting workshop with ArtPlay Teaching Artist Charles Tortorici, free transportation to the Meet the Artist performance of their choice at the Alys Stephens Center, and a $200 gift card for classroom supplies.