Jackson student wins 2021 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge


Oluchi Nwaokorie (Courtesy: National Endowment for the Arts)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A Jackson student was selected as one of the winners of the 2021 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with the American Theatre Wing announced the winners on Wednesday, which include Oluchi Nwaokorie, who was a senior at Murrah High School at the time of her submission.

According to officials, Nwaokorie has been in multiple theater productions including Beauty and the Beast, Matilda, and Once on This Island. She is currently attending the University of Michigan where she is studying musical theater.

The song she submitted for the contest was ‘Call Me Ke/In Between.’

A total of 13 students were chosen as the winners of the competition.

NameCityStateSchool Level at Time of SubmissionSchool Name at Time of Submission
Ayana WilliamsBrooklynNew YorkJuniorBrooklyn High School of the Arts
Elsa MillerMaple ValleyWashingtonSeniorTahoma High School
Ethan SmithBethelConnecticutJuniorBethel High School
Howard GodfreyGurneeIllinoisSeniorEvanston Township High School
Kyler HuyseKatyTexasJuniorSeven Lakes High School
Lily ClineSan RafaelCaliforniaJuniorSan Domenico School
Nicole AcostaMiamiFloridaJuniorMiami Arts Studio
Oluchi NwaokorieJacksonMississippiSeniorMurrah High School
Owen KnightSykesvilleMarylandSophomoreCentury High School
Tyler KinnamanSnoqualmieWashingtonSeniorMount Si High School
Zeph SieblerLincolnNebraskaJuniorLincoln High School
TEAM: Ashley DiLorenzo/Mateo LizcanoMaspeth/FlushingNew YorkSenior/JuniorFrank Sinatra School of the Arts High School

“The winners in this fifth anniversary year represent the energizing diversity and creative potential of our country,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “These young people will have a rare opportunity to develop their original song with an extraordinary group of mentors, music directors, musicians, and vocalists. Whether or not the winners take up songwriting professionally, their experience in the program will help them develop as artists and as adults.”

To watch performances from the 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020 programs, go to arts.gov/songwriting.

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