Music legend to host audition for social change event at Penn State

August 06, 2012

As part of the upcoming Penn State conference on American folk singer Woody Guthrie, the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences welcomes Pennsylvania musicians of all genres and ages to audition online for a special night of social change performance and discussion with another legendary singer-songwriter.

Noel "Paul" Stookey of the trio Peter, Paul and Mary will host Stand Up & Sing Open Master Class@Penn State before a live audience from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Foster Auditorium in Paterno Library on Penn State’s University Park campus.

The open Master Class will include performances by Stookey, Carolyn Malachi — recording artist and GRAMMY nominee — as well as other performers. Finalists of the songwriting contest will be selected from entries submitted to the website, and will be invited to take part in Thursday's class with Stookey. An artist will be named the winner and given the chance to perform his song during a concert at The State Theatre on Friday.

The class and audition is associated with Woody@100, Woody’s Legacy to Working Men and Women, taking place Sept. 7–9 at various locations across the University Park campus. Guthrie's legacy is being celebrated this year with conferences and concerts at four universities, including Penn State, in partnership with the College of the Liberal Arts, The GRAMMY Museum, Penn State Altoona, and the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives.

The open Master Class is being offered by Music2Life, founded by Stookey and daughter Liz Stookey Sunde. The organization aims to harness the power of music — through technology, artist engagement and education — to support musicians, fans and their social causes.

"Music2Life helps the multi-genre troubadours of our time connect with audiences and move their music of change into the world," said Stookey Sunde. "Our work [with Penn State] is designed to inspire young and emerging social change artists who want to get their message heard."

Woody Guthrie, who would have been 100 years old on July 14, 2012, had he lived, raised social consciousness about the lifestyles of the working-class in his songwriting.

Artists interested in auditioning for the open Master Class should submit a YouTube link or MP3 of their social activism song no later than Aug. 29. Entries should be sent to Five to eight finalists will be selected to participate in the Master Class.

The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration is one of the largest and most comprehensive centennial celebrations ever staged for an American music icon. For the most up-to-date information and a complete schedule of events for the entire Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration, visit

Penn State Conferences plans and manages hundreds of programs each year which represent the diversity and strength of Penn State's academic colleges and provide opportunities for individuals to learn about the latest scholarship, research and developments in their fields or participate in enriching learning experiences. Penn State Conferences is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.

  • Woody Guthrie, who would have been 100 years old on July 14, 2012, had he lived, raised social consciousness about the lifestyles of the working-class in his songwriting.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated August 21, 2012