Photo: Top Scorer Paul Iwancio | We decided to repeat this article as we’ve had so many inquiries – let alone to mention we accidently listed the wrong website for Christopher Ryan! | We know you’re just dying to know the outcome of COMBO’s 8th Annual Songwriting Contest. Our judges all agreed on the top two – who were separated by only tenth’s of a point! The top scoring song was “Who Took the Donuts Away” by Paul Iwancio and Greg Trafidlo. Yeah, we know. You’re thinking, “WT…H…”? But believe us, this song is GREAT! At first we thought, “Who in the world would buy this song?” But then ideas just started pouring through the judges’ heads by the bunches! [The people at the Durango Songwriters Expo loved it, too!]

In second place was “A Little Bigger” by Christopher Ryan. Like “Who Took the Donuts Away,” “A Little Bigger” is extremely creative, hand-clapping, foot stomping, and just generally a very positive, upbeat song. Christopher’s production had him doing spoken word, singing, and rapping and it all came together very well.

Runners-up were (in no particular order) Karen Current / Slopeside – “Keep This Thing Alive”; Steve Son – “I Walk in Shadows”; Mike Abbass – “To Stone” and “The Star of Telluride” (2 songs of Mike’s scored high); Arjay Sharp – “Delusions”; and Michelle Roderick – “This Lonely Day”.

Remember: The judges were not given names of songwriters, performers, or the names of the songs. Judging was done only on the lyrics and the melody. While no judging was done on the “production”, i.e. full orchestra or just singer/guitarist, it helped to know in what tempo the song was written or “genre”. While 8 songs seems short (more of an “EP” than a “compilation CD”), a natural break in the judging points occurred so we decided to draw the line there. There were a lot of really good songs entered this year and minor changes might have made them great songs. But the judges all agreed whole-heartedly on “Who Took the Donuts Away” and “A Little Bigger”!

We’ll be looking forward to sending the CDs to local radio shows that are open to playing original songs! After all, ALL songs are technically “original” songs!

We want to thank COMBO Board member and sound engineer Clark Hagan who mastered the EP for us. CODA replicated the EP for distribution. And don’t forget our showcase which we hope to make “live action.” More details on that later.

Paul Iwancio

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