Intermediate Guitar writes original songs for contest

Sophomore duo receives top prize


Staff photo

Sophomore Gaby Franco tunes her guitar at the beginning of class in March. Franco along with sophomore group members Lily Stokes and Hannah Hungeling wrote and recorded an original song titled “After Him” based loosely on the movie “After.”

Hunter Minne, Editor-in-Chief

The guitar program’s 7th Annual Songwriting Contest came to an end Friday, March 5th after almost a month of voting from St. Pius students and teachers. Featuring eight original song submissions from Mr. Kennedy’s Intermediate Guitar class, the winners of the contest were sophomores Jessica Trane and Julia Tardy with their song “On the Highway”, as well as freshman Vincent Casal, sophomore David Castro, and junior Will Schmidt  with their song “Walking in Love.” Both of the winning songs will be performed at the upcoming Spring Fine Arts Festival on May 1.

“On the Highway”

Trane and Tardy’s song “On the Highway” took home the top prize with 81 total votes.

“It feels really good that now all of our hard work has paid off. At the beginning of the songwriting process we didn’t know where to start, and now we’ve won and I feel appreciated,” Tardy said.

Even though the group’s lyricist, Trane, can’t currently drive on her own, they didn’t let that stop them from writing a song made specifically for the road.

“We wanted to make a song that would sound good to be on the road with,” Tardy said. “Like a good song to listen to in the car.”

The first step in creating their song was the chord progression, then Tardy played the guitar parts while Trane played the piano ones. Next they wrote their lyrics, and then finally they added bass to make the song complete. Overall the entire process took about a month, and the lyrics took almost three days complete with late nights to finish. Still, the pair are excited for the next step for their song.

“I’m excited to be able to perform it,” Tardy said, “I think it’ll be fun.”

“Walking in Love”

Casal, Castro, and Schmidt wrote their original song “Walking in Love” after Casal was inspired by a Ted Talk in Ms. Lindsay Dent’s English class. The name itself, however, is a purely original creation.

“It’s about the way that we talk about love. We say fallen in love, or crazy in love, or mad in love, and all of those things depict love as a mental illness or something that you’re not really in control of. So I thought I’d turn that on its head and say walking in love as a choice,” Casal said.

In order to convey this particular message, the group wanted to have a specific feel for their song.

“We wanted a bouncy feel to it, almost as if it were like a rom-com; that was displayed in the rhythm guitar, it was kind of bouncy,” Casal said, “and I just gave Will a chord progression and he put that kind of rhythm in it.”

Before the final vote had been tallied, Casal was confident his group’s song would be one of the winners. At the end of the competition he was correct, as “Walking in Love” garnered the second-highest total with 74 votes.

“After Him”

Sophomores Lily Stokes, Hannah Hungeling, and Gabriel Franco wrote their song called “After Him,” but they didn’t come up with the name all on their own.

“You know the movie ‘After’? It’s based off of that,” Hungeling said. “So it follows the storyline of it kind of. That’s what we were aiming for, to try to put it into a song.”

The group found the movie to be just the right mix of funny, weird, and bad that it deserved its own song.

“It’s more of a joke. We love the movie, it’s just kind of a bad movie,” Stokes said.

The team started out their three-week songwriting process by picking songs they wanted their eventual end product to possibly mimic, then selecting a key to be in tone with the movie, After writing their lyrics, and then playing their instruments, their final step was to make sure everything sounded great together.


Sophomore William Waters took on the task of songwriting all on his own, with a goal of creating as relatable of a song as possible.

“It was kind of just about everything that happened in the past year, just kind of how we’ve been stuck in this situation and [we] can’t really get out of it,” Waters said. “How repetitive it is and the overall boringness.”

Waters might not have begun his process with the most laid out plans, but the final product still came together in the end.

“I just kind of started pressing buttons on my computer trying to look for something to start with, and then I started making some piano sounds, and it kind of went from there,” Waters said. “In the end it was like ‘Oh shoot, I’ve got to sing,’ so I accidentally made a rap beat and it just turned into a little rap.”

Waters enjoyed the spontaneous nature of his song, from start to finish.

“In the beginning how it just came out of nothing and random buttons brought me to a whole song, just pressing buttons on my computer,” he said. “I just think that’s kind of cool how nothing can create something.”

All eight of the song submissions are still accessible through the 7th Annual Songwriting Contests SoundCloud page.