Judges Selected for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest


Hahira, Georgia, July 1, 2019 — Three judges are ready to pick the winners at the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest: two from Georgia and one from Florida. Tony Buzella, J.J. Rolle, and Tim Teasley will mark finalists on originality of lyrics and music, musical consistency, showing the integrity and value of the waters, historical value, performance, and more. Radio personality Chris Beckham of Tifton will M.C.

Three Judges

Tony Buzella lives in Lake City, and was raised in Miami, Florida. He studied under many great teachers, and he has performed with many great musicians over the years including Frank Hubble, Charlie “Brown” Weatherbee, Rusty Hammerstrum, Leo Villar, Carlos Guzman and “Our Gang” Dixieland band during the 1960’s and 70’s. He has also performed with Pete Fountain, Bonnie Dawson, Freddie Palmer, Jerry Clower, Grandpa Jones, The Original Salt & Pepper Trio, The Gainesville Jazz Orchestra, Alfonso Levy and many others.

[Tony Buzella]
Tony Buzella

“Such an experienced and versatile musician is eminently qualified to help pick winners!” said Eileen Box, WWALS Board Member from Live Oak, Florida.

John Jeffery (J.J.) Rolle as a singer/songwriter has done shows with the likes of Dr. John, Arlo Guthrie and Ultravox’s Midge Uhre. He also fronted two bands: a 7-pc. dance band called Cantaloupe! with several appearances on Irish national television (RTE) as well as performing at the prestigious Guinness International Jazz Festival 5 years in a row, and his own 6-pc. Soul/Funk/Disco band, JJ’s Soul Funkshun with a 3 year residency in The Mezz Bar and featured band at the first Guinness St Patrick’s Day Festival to their credit. He lives in Valdosta, GA.

[J.J. Rolle]
J.J. Rolle

“J.J. liked being a judge so much last year he’s doing it again,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Tim Teasley plays in several bands around Valdosta: 2South, an acoustic trio; Lazy Lightning, a rock ensemble; and the Ed Barr Orchestra for the annual American Soundtrack production. He is the studio keyboardist for Soil Of The South Studio, owned by Mark Neill (Grammy Award-winning producer of The Black Keys). He has keyboard credits on “The Gypsy Soul Of Tiwayo”, a French/U.S. produced CD. Multi-talented Teasley won First Place Photography in the 2019 Turner Center for the Arts juried show.

[Tim Teasley]
Tim Teasley

“Tim has played music with many bands, lawyers, police chiefs, and even a mayor!” said Contest Committee Chair Scotti Jay.

About the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest:

Tickets are $10 online or $12 at the door. Or $150 per eight-seat VIP table right in front of the stage. Everything about the contest is online here:


Sponsoring the contest is a great opportunity for businesses and individuals to get their name in publicity about the Contest, from radio and TV and newspaper interviews and public interest spots, to a banner to hang at your place of business, to a banner at the event and a mention in the program. Help support clean water advocacy and get more people to see your business. Georgia Beer Company is the top-level sponsor, and The Battery Source is a sponsor.

[Sponsor package]
Sponsor package

Songs should be submitted by Friday, July 12, 2019. The entry form is online, for your song lyrics and information about the song and to introduce you if you become a finalist. Every musical genre is welcome, and anything from spoken word or a capella to bands. You can send your song as an electronic file or on a USB stick or CD.

Photo: of the Songwriting Contest Committee: Tom H. Johnson Jr., last year’s winner Laura D’Alisera, Committee Chair Scotti Jay, Lead Water Quality Tester Sara Jay, Mary Caroline Pindar, Eileen Box, and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman 2019-06-23, Live Oak, FL

The Contest Committee will choose half a dozen finalists according to criteria such as that they’re really about some of our waters in the Suwannee River Basin. Finalists will be announced Saturday, August 10, 2019.

The contest is from 1 to 5 PM, Saturday, August 24, 2019, at The Salty Snapper, 1405 Gornto Rd,. Valdosta, Georgia. You must be present to win. You do not have to sing, but you do have to be onstage with your song’s performance, rattling a tambourine or whatever. All finalists must arrive by 11 AM for sound check.

Radio personality Chris Beckham will be the Master of Ceremonies, as musicians play, the finalists perform, three judges deliberate, we all talk about outings and advocacy, and, finally, the winners are announced. Then the winners play some more.

New this year: there will be one or more youth winners under 18 years old.

The first prize is $300. Prizes of $50 each will go to one winner from within the Suwannee River Basin, and one from without. Plus one winner per musical genre.

There will be a silent auction, a kayak raffle, and a cash bar, and the snacks are included. At 4 PM you can order from the Salty Snapper menu as well, if you like.

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. Founded in June 2012, WWALS has board members from multiple counties in south Georgia and north Florida, and members from all over the Suwannee River Basin and from farther away. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

Contact: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
WWALS Watershed Coalition
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632