Winners: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Valdosta, Georgia, August 25, 2019 — Everybody had a good time before plaques were awarded for Best in each Genre, from Folk to Funk, at the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, before two finalists won the money prizes, at the Salty Snapper in Valdosta, Saturday afternoon.

Jay Jourden of Ponte Vedra, Florida, swept the awards, winning Best Newgrass Bluegrass, and $50 for Best Song from Outside the Suwannee River Basin, and the $300 First Prize, all for “Save Our Suwannee.” Jay promised to submit a new song next year, before he played it again for the very happy audience.

[Jay Jourden Winning]
Jay Jourden Winning

“Yes, Jay submitted the same song last year,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “But this time he stopped in the middle, said he forgot some verses, and rattled off names of a whole bunch of rivers, all in perfect time. Naming rivers was one of the criteria, and it’s a great song: Save Our Suwannee!”

Dick Grillo of Live Oak, Florida, won both Best Folk/Country, and $50 for Best Song from Inside the Suwannee River Basin, for “Dear ‘Ol Suwannee,” and his cheering section demonstrated it was the loudest.


“I don’t know whether M.C. Chris Beckham enjoyed announcing the prizes more, or maybe it was me handing them out,” said last year’s winner Laura D’Alisera of Jacksonville, Florida, who was also a headliner, along with Joe Smothers of Valdosta, Georgia.

The winners of Best in Genre were:

“All that and with the 58 ticketed listeners, the sponsors, the silent aucction, swag raffle, and kayak raffle, we ended up with a signficicant surplus that will help our WWALS advocacy,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “Thank you all!”

For more details, see the longer WWALS blog post.

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


The $50 prizes went to each of these two:

First Prize with a $300 check:

Thanks to all the sponsors, especially top tier sponsor Georgia Beer Company.

[Jack Martin with sponsor thank you poster]
Jack Martin with sponsor thank you poster

Thanks to all three judges, Tony Buzella of Lake City, Tim Teasley and J.J. Rolle of Valdosta.

[Tony Buzella, Tim Teasley, J.J. Rolle]
Tony Buzella, Tim Teasley, J.J. Rolle

Thanks to Garrison and The Salty Snapper for the venue.

[Garrison fixing sound, Chris Beckham M.C.]
Garrison fixing sound, Chris Beckham M.C.

Thanks to Tom Potter and Bobby McKenzie for handling the membership table, and for speaking.

[Membership: Tom Potter and Bobby McKenzie]
Membership: Tom Potter and Bobby McKenzie

Thanks to everyone who donated something to the silent auction, and to everyone who bought something from it.

[Silent auction]
Silent auction

Thanks to Gretchen Quarterman for organizing the silent auction and the swag raffle, the kayak raffle tickets, and many other things.

[WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman with Water Trail sign]
WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman with Water Trail sign

Last but not least, thanks to the WWALS Songwriting Contest Committee

[Scotti Jay, Sara Jay, John S. Quarterman, Eileen Box, Jack Martin of Georgia Beer Co., Laura D'Alisera (in Newfoundland: Tom H. Johnson Jr. and Mary Carolyn Pindar)]
Scotti Jay, Sara Jay, John S. Quarterman, Eileen Box, Jack Martin of Georgia Beer Co., Laura D’Alisera (in Newfoundland: Tom H. Johnson Jr. and Mary Carolyn Pindar)

Yes, it was also a successful fundraiser, with a significant surplus. Most importantly, the 58 ticketed listeners, the finalists, judges, M.C., and everybody else had a good time.

[Busy venue]
Busy venue

We will be posting videos.

And it looks like we’ll be doing it again next year!

All about this year’s Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest is here:–suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest/

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

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