Songwriter Serenade has been around Texas since 2007, with it’s first winner, Brian Kalinec, now serving as a co-chair for the event.

This contest is a great opportunity to try your stuff as a singer-songwriter!

Hosted by Houston’s own Ken Gaines, voted Singer-Songwriter of the Year by the Academy of Texas Music and a long-time Folk Alliance member, this is an event that has grown beyond the borders of Texas, and begun attracting singer-songwriters from across the country and Canada.


Opens – January 13

Deadlines – March 31

Semi-Finalist announcement – April 6

Live performance and competition at Parish Hall in Moravia TX – 2nd Monday in May

Winner announced at Parish Hall


  • FREE to enter!






Fifteen songwriters will be selected for the Semi Finals from the entries. They will perform two songs from the songs submitted before a panel of three judges and the audience.

At the conclusion of the semifinal round, 7 songwriters will be selected by the judges to advance to the Finals at 3:00 PM. The finalists will perform one different song from those submitted, for the Finals.

Only songs submitted as part of the songwriter original entry can be performed in the contest.

The Semi Finals will be held at the Moravia Performance Hall in Moravia, Texas on the first Saturday in May beginning at 11AM.

Judging Criteria:  Each judge will have a judging binder that includes the lyric sheets for each song submitted by the contestants. The songwriter must identify the song selected for performance before starting the song.

The judges will have a scoring sheet for each song being performed and will judge the song and performance in four specific areas from 0 – 10:

  • Lyrics (Imagery, story, creativity, originality)
  • Melody (structure, phrasing, rhythm)
  • Performing Ability (vocal, musicianship)
  • Stage Presence / Audience Rapport



$5,000 in prize money divided among the top 7 finalists.

The first place winner opens that night at the Bugle Boy in LeGrange for the days’ judges. In 2018 that was a concert featuring Susan Gibson, Walt Wilkins and Carrie Rodriguez.