Abingdon was alive with music over the Memorial Day weekend, thanks to the Richard Leigh Songwriter’s Contest sponsored by Virginia Highlands Community College.
Leigh (above), a 1973 VHCC graduate, is a Grammy Award winning songwriter who returns home each year to encourage local talent and raise money for VHCC’s Great Expectations program, which helps students make the transition from foster care to a successful college and work career.
This year’s contest drew 108 entries, and Dan Curry, a singer/songwriter from Lebanon, Va. was the overall winner. Curry’s winning song “Love,” also won top honors in the gospel category, and was chosen by a team of judges that included studio owners, musicians, recording artists, music educators and radio station managers.
In addition to a cash prize of $400, Curry was invited to record his winning song at a Bristol recording studio, and granted membership in regional and the Nashville Songwriters Association.
Leigh enlists friends from the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame to help support the annual event in Abingdon. This year, he was joined by Tony Arata, Even Stevens and Jim McBride. Together they have penned more than 50 chart-topping hits.
Leigh’s best known song was “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” which gave Crystal Gayle a Grammy Award and the biggest crossover hit of her career in 1977.
Read more about this year’s Songwriters Contest here.
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