News from Berkeley

Here you will find up to date information about what's going on in the WCS Berkeley Chapter.  It's easy to find who to contact, where to go and when it's all happening!  If you need to reach us, please email the Berkeley Managers.

Please make sure that you membership is current. Take a photo of your membership card so you always have it with you. Non-members are ineligible to win.   RENEW MY MEMBERSHIP and enjoy all the perks including discounts, freebies and more.


  • THIRD Monday of the month (please check calendar, sometimes date has to be adjusted - NO DECEMBER EVENT)
  • Location: The Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison St. Berkeley
  • SIGN-UP: 7pm. Start time: 7:30 pm. 
  • Tickets $7 in advance; $9 at the door
  • If you join or renew the night of the competition, admission fee is waived, let them know at the door you are joining instead of buying a ticket.
  • Be sure to invite your friends. Audience encouraged.
  • Please make sure that you membership is current (Smartphone photo of card is OK)
  • Non-members are ineligible to win (but can perform, time permitting)  
  • CONTACT the Berkeley Manager
  • Songwriting Competition Rules

There are 2 winners of the Songwriting Competition each month, Best Song and Best Song Runner Up.

  • Best Song of the Month wins 3 hours of studio time from our sponsor BEN LEINBACH’S OLD BULL STUDIO and an invitation to compete in the Playoffs for Best Song of the Year and a chance to compete in the Finals. Additionally, Best song winner will be on the WCS YouTube Channel as a featured artist. Video file (not YouTube link), song title, location and short blurb with link to website/facebook should be provided to
  • Best Song Runner Up wins 3 hours of studio time from the renowned GAWAIN MATHEWS STUDIO
    Studio time must be redeemed within 90 days of the event. Winners are announced shortly after the end of the performances. Judge evaluations for all performers can be picked up in the lobby afterwards. 
  • A member can win Best Song Of The Month and Best Song Of The Month Runner Up twice during a season (with different songs) in each WCS Location. Playoffs are in July to determine Berkeley Best Song Of The Year. On September 6th, the winners of Best Song of the Year from every WCS Location compete at the Finals for WCS Best Song of the Year. Three winners are chosen to perform at the annual WCS Conference in September

SIGN-UP - Sign-up on a first-come basis, maximum 20 songs for the night, get there early if you want to perform. Most members arrive before 7, buy discount tickets at the box office, then line-up for sign-up. Show your WCS membership card at sign-up. Join or renew membership in person and Admission Fee is waived. Only WCS members are eligible to compete, but non-members can sign-up at 7:25 if room available. If you want to bring lyrics for the judges (optional but recommended), give to a Chapter Manager at sign-up. TIP: If you received this email, you are on Berkeley Chapter email list and don’t have to enter your email address on sign-up sheet.
LYRIC CONTEST – Berkeley Chapter continues to participate in the WCS Lyric
Contest, check other chapters if they are participating. Winners of the Lyric Contest will be announced annually, not monthly. To enter a song into the Lyric Contest, you must compete with the song at a participating Songwriting Competition. Awards are for Best Lyric- first, second and third place, Best Title and Best Line. Best Lyric of the Year First place winner receives 3 hours of studio time from our sponsor and is invited to perform as a non-competing guest at the Grand Finals. Our sponsor is JAMES GARDINER Pajama Studios in Oakland ( Winners are judged by a panel of professional songwriters. Past judges include Steve Seskin, Andre Pessis, Sue Ennis, Evie Ladin, James Earley. TO ENTER – Bring an extra copy of your lyrics and enter the song at the participating Competition. On the lyric sheet, write the following information: 1. Lyric Contest or L/C; 2. Date; 3. Location; 4. Songwriter name; 5. Contact information. Give the lyrics to the chapter manager at sign-up. WCS members can submit as many songs as they want, as long as the song is performed at Songwriter Competition during the Competition season.
WCS Berkeley Chapter managers, Margo Fleming, Curt Ingram, Tina Dinha.


  • If you you have a backing track, give it to the sound person before the show begins.
  • If you have any instrument other than guitar or piano, let the sound person know before the show begins
  • If you are performing with other people, they don’t have to be WCS members but they do need to buy tickets.
  • You can have someone else perform your song as long as the WCS member is the writer on the song.
  • Tune your instrument in the lobby before your performance.
  • When you are called “on deck”, go sit in the front row with the stage manager so you’re ready to get onstage when you’re name is called.
  • When you get onstage, if you’re playing guitar, strum it a few times so the sound person can adjust your levels.
  • Announce your name and title of the song.
  • Performance starts at 7:30 pm and usually ends by 10:00. 
  • There is only time for one song for each performer.
  • You can promote yourself (new releases, gigs, etc) or introduce your song, but, if you speak, keep it very short.


The Berkeley Chapter holds an annual Lyric Contest. Winners of the Lyric Contest will be announced annually, not monthly. Lyrics will be judged by a panel of industry professionals. Awards are for Best Lyric- first, second and third place, Best Title and Best Line. Best Lyric of the Year First place winner receives 3 hours of studio time from our sponsor JAMES GARDINER and is invited to perform as a non-competing guest at the Berkeley Playoffs.


  • To enter the annual Lyric Contest, bring an extra copy of your lyrics.
  • Write L/C on the lyric sheet, include name and contact information.
  • Give the lyric sheet to the location manager at sign-up and check L/C box on sign-up sheet.
  • You must be a current WCS member to be eligible to compete and to win, and you must perform your song at the event during the competition season.


Lyric Contest judges have included: ANDRE PESSIS (songwriter, 16 hit songs, Grammy winner, 13 platinum records, songs recorded by Tim McGraw, Journey, many others, previous President and Governor of the Grammy Association in San Francisco), STEVE SESKIN (songwriter, 7 #1 songs, Grammy-nomination, NSAI Song of the Year, Music Row Magazine Song of the Year, Academy of Country Music’s Video of the Year, songs recorded by Tim McGraw, Peter, Paul and Mary, Kenny Chesney, many others), SUE ENNIS (songwriter, 3 Classic Rock radio staples by Heart, co-written over 70 songs with Ann and Nancy Wilson, songs in feature films “The Golden Child” Eddie Murphy and “Thomas and The Magic Railroad”, co-wrote a jingle that won the Puget Sound Advertising Award, President of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Recording Academy).


JAMES GARDINER is an award-winning composer, producer and recording engineer with two Grammy nominations and 42 gold and platinum awards to his credit, who has worked with Kenny G, Destiny’s Child, Will Smith, Tupac Shakur, Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, John Lee Hooker Jr., and many more. His filmography includes Bad Boyz II, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Dr. Doolittle, Boyz ’N the Hood, and many more. He is offering a 20% discount for WCS members from now until the end of the competition season in August. Contact Pajama Studios 510-832- 5266 and request the WCS member discount.

WCS Grand Finals: September 

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WCS is one of the oldest and most active songwriter organizations in the world. WCS is a non-profit with more than 1,200 members. Membership and admission charges are tax deductible. WCS is a volunteer organization. If you can volunteer, please speak with the Managers or contact WCS. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to ask the Managers. 

Monthly Winners

Best Song:  
Wendell Wolff "Family and Friends"
Best Song Runner Up:  Ben Wylder "Can't Say No"

Best Song:  
Maureen Blumenthal "Curtain of Snow"
Best Song Runner Up:  Annie Hendrix "Fake It Til You Make It"

Best Song:  
Mark Lyon "Don't Tell Her Don't"

JUNE 2019 Winners:
Best Song:  
Mark Lyon "Don't Tell Her Don't"
Best Performance:  Lorenzo Wood "Roses"

MAY 2019 Winners:
Best Song:  Rose Winters "Fool Outside The Window"
Best Performance: Yolanda Cazessus "The Westside"

APRIL 2019 Winners:
Best Song:  
J.C. Tourbillion "Brewed Awakening"
Best Performance:  Jim Terry "The Walls Stand On And On"

MARCH 2019 Winners:
Best Song:  
Rob Shaw "Fischer Hall"
Best Performance:  Jhene Canody "Sleeping Dogs"

FEBRUARY 2019 Winners:
Best Song: 
Casey Bogdan "Turn Around" and
Claudia Russell "Land of Plenty"
Best Performance: Liz Becker "Wake Me Up"

JANUARY 2019 Winners: 
Best Song:
   Hannah Wolf “War Zone”
Best Performance " Elizabeth Becker “For You"

NOVEMBER 2018 Winners:
Best Song:   Claudia Russell “Lately I’m Thinkin Bout You”
Best Performance:  Megan McLaughlin “Ruby Bridges”

OCTOBER 2018 Winners:
Best Song:   Wendell Wolf “Toe Pincher”
Best Performance:  Maureen Blumenthal “Take it Back”

Best Song:
  “Slowly” by Greg Yee

June 2018 Winners: 
Best Song:
  "Well-Schooled Man" J.C. Tourbillion
Best Performance " “Poor at Christmas" Max Newton

MAY 2018 Winners:
Best Song:  "Real Human Being" Sky Nelson
Best Performance "Thinking of You" Andrea President

APRIL 2018 Winners:
Best Song:  “Slowly” by Greg Yee
Best Performance: “Circus Bear” by Michael McNevin

MARCH 2018 Winners:
Best Song:  Maureen Blumenthal "Sad Side of the Bed'
Best Performance: Kaia "Forever the Young"

FEBRUARY 2018 Winners:
Best Song:  Kaia, Just Yesterday
Best Performance: Emma Lloyd, Caroline

JANUARY 2018 Winners:
Best Song:  Rob Shaw "Girl with the Guitar" 
Best Performance: Mia Pixley “All the Light” 

NOVEMBER 2017 Winners:
Best Song:  Chris Hanson "Augusta"
Best Performance: Emily Hamilton "Oregon"

OCTOBER 2017 Winners:
Best Song:   Megan McLaughlin "Steady My Love"
Best Performance:  Sky Nelson "Let Love Run The Show"

Berkeley Sponsors

2019-20 Season

Berkeley Location Photos 2015-17