Gateway Macon To Award $25k Contest Winner at Otis Redding Event

MACON, GA (09/08/2011) - Gateway Macon is about to make one musician sing a happy song.  The winner of the Macon Music competition will be announced Saturday night at the Evening of Respect: Otis Redding Musical Tribute Concert at the Macon City Auditorium.

The five finalists are Tris Coffin and the 51 Project of Boston, Massachusetts; Shari Clark of Macon, Georgia; Eric Jennings of Atlanta, Georgia; Floco Torres of Macon, Georgia; and Alex Vear of Atlanta, Georgia.  Representatives from all finalists are scheduled to be at the event for the announcement.

The Macon Music contest winner will receive a $25,000 prize package that includes studio time to record a three song EP (extended play mini-album) produced by Grammy-nominated percussionist Steve Moretti, a hi-definition music video, an array of promotional tools, and a CD release party at the Grand Opera House.

“We are so honored to be able to announce the winner of our Macon Music competition at 'Evening of Respect.'  It’s seems like the appropriate partnership considering we announced the competition at The Douglass Theatre where Otis Redding launched his legendary career,” said Executive Director, Beth Dunwody.

“Macon may have found the next super star to call its own,” Dunwody said.  “The Gateway Initiative developed the music competition to create more buzz and to enhance the public awareness of Macon’s rich musical heritage in Georgia music history.”

Macon Music’s prize package is an investment in Macon’s economic future and a catalyst for attracting top talent.  According to a 2011 study conducted by B. William Riall, Ph.D., the estimated economic impact of the music industry in Georgia is $3.7 billion annually.  Additionally, the study credits the industry with creating 19,955 jobs and generating more than $313 million in tax revenues for state and local governments.

Macon Music is phase two of an integrated marketing campaign that was strategically planned to highlight Macon’s musical assets.  As its inaugural project last fall, Gateway Macon commissioned an original song and produced a music video to showcase the city’s assets.  Rolling Stones rocker Chuck Leavell, international violinist Robert McDuffie, rapper Sonny Spoon, Grammy-nominated drummer Steve Moretti, guitar virtuoso Peter Stroud, and singer/songwriter Tony Reyes collaborated to develop “A Little More Soul.”  In the span of nine months, the song and video have garnered global viewership and a bevy of national accolades including multiple TELLY and ADDY awards.  The same award-winning sound, design and production team will judge, produce and develop the Macon Music prize package.

Macon’s musical legacy is the single most recognizable attribute associated with the community.  Macon is the birthplace of southern rock and the Allman Brothers Band, Sea Level, Wet Willie, and Marshall Tucker.  Hip Hop artist Sonny Spoon and Grammy-winning country singer, Jason Aldean, call Macon home, too.  Alternative bands play original music in clubs, and songwriters perform in parks, galleries, and theatres.  The Macon Symphony Orchestra has presented a master series in the Grand Opera House for over 30 years.  The New York Metropolitan Opera is now simulcast in high definition at the historic Douglass Theatre where Otis Redding, Little Richard, James Brown, and Lena Horne performed live.

The winner of the Macon Music competition will be announced at the "Evening of Respect": Otis Redding Musical Tribute on Saturday night at the Macon City Auditorium.  Tickets are $50 for floor seats, $25 for balcony seats.  Tickets are available at Mercer Ticket Sales located at 400 Poplar Street in downtown Macon or online at