Long Wharf Theatre will host its first “Sing Your Story” songwriting competition on Monday, January 25, 2016 at 730 pm on the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre.

“Sing Your Story” is a celebration of local music connecting Benjamin Scheuer’s personal and powerful The Lion, running from January 6 through February 7, 2016, with the multitude of stories and musical talent here in New Haven. Chenot Keith, the lead singer of the New Haven-based indie-pop favorite Mission Zero, will host the event. Tickets are $5. The event is sponsored by Ruby Melton and Gail McAvay. “We will be building a connection between the musical storytelling we’re presenting on our stage and the community of artists working and creating locally. It’s a celebratory beginning to a hopefully ongoing relationship to the local arts community,” said Community Engagement Manager Elizabeth Nearing. Contestants may submit their song by uploading a video and filling out a online form ( The top 10 performers as selected by a panel of LWT staffers will be invited to perform on the 25th. The video with the most likes on YouTube will automatically be entered into the top 10. “This is a gathering of the unique voices of New Haven. My dream is that we have performers doing all different genres of music, from hip hop to folk music, from rock and roll to piano ballads. I would love to have singers ages 8 to 85,” Nearing said. All songs will be judged on the quality of the song (and not the video) and will have to abide by these rules: The final winner will be selected by three judges. The winner will get four hours of free studio time at Baobob Tree Studios on Orange Street in New Haven and will be a headliner at a popup festival presented in May 2016 by the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. All submissions will receive a pair of tickets to The Lion, consideration for paid and unpaid opportunities at the 2016 IFAI, and four tickets to the final “Sing Your Story” performance on January 25. “This is an important event for me personally as an artist and for us as an institution,” Nearing said. “We believe our art reflects the world in which we live. Another way to accomplish our mission is to invite that world onto our stage.”