Free songwriting workshops offered this May

In preparation for its upcoming production of “Once The Musical,” Paramount Theatre, in partnership with the Fox Valley Music Foundation and Aurora Public Art, invites songwriters of all ages to attend Be a Builder of Worlds: A Two-Part Songwriting Workshop, Tuesday, May 8, and Tuesday, May 15, both at 7 p.m. at Aurora Public Art, 20 E. Downer Place in downtown Aurora.
Chicago area singer-songwriter Andrea Dawn and actor/musician Larry Tobias, who portrays “Da” in Once, will spend two evenings sharing their songwriting process and helping songwriters find their own process and songwriting voice.
On Tuesday, May 8, Dawn and Tobias will host an intimate evening that will include performing their own music, sharing their experiences as songwriters and offering some tools and techniques they’ve used in their songwriting process. There will be ample time for questions and work to be done on current or new pieces.
On Tuesday, May 15, it’s show time! Participants are encouraged to come prepared to share a song they’ve been working on, and Dawn and Tobias will offer individual feedback to continue to inspire growth as a songwriter. Not quite ready to share your piece? That’s okay; just come be part of a supportive community celebrating each other’s songwriting journey.
Be a Builder of Worlds is presented as part of the new Dive Deeper series of workshops being introduced to the community by Paramount’s new education department. Both events are free, but space is limited. Reserve in advance at paramountaurora.com/education/#dive-deeper-programs.
“Songwriting can be a lonely pursuit. These workshops will allow for beginning and professional songwriters to grow together, learn from each other and build a community,” said Shannon Cameron, Paramount’s new director of education and community engagement.
Paramount Theatre’s Once, directed by Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti with music directed by Tom Vendafreddo, is the first Chicago-area regional staging of the Tony Award winning musical. Through song, this modern-day musical tells the moving story of an Irish busker (Guy), his immigrant fan (Girl) and their eventful week in Dublin as they write, rehearse and record songs from which their beautiful love story unfolds.
Previews are April 25-27 with regular performances following through June 3 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit paramountaurora.com or call (630) 896-6666.
City of Aurora Public Art is the civic hub for multi-disciplinary arts partnerships, public art projects, and formal gallery programming. Aurora Public Art prioritizes innovative community development and social justice through the arts. For more,
The Fox Valley Music Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that preserves, promotes and presents the music of the Fox Valley area of Illinois while providing music education to people of all ages and from all walks of life. For more, visit foxvalleymusicfoundation.com.

Workshop leader biographies

Trained at a young age and composing since she was 10, Chicago singer-songwriterAndrea Dawn has methodically honed her craft into a unique style that exists somewhere between 1930s jazz singers, ‘90s singer-songwriters and the film scores of Danny Elfman and Jon Brion. While haunting and often orchestral, the songs remain, at their core, an examination of the human experience. In 2012, this sound was fully realized through Dawn’s full-length debut, Theories of How We Can Be Friends, released on Waterloo Sunset Records, followed by her 2014 sophomore album, Doll, with Murmur Entertainment. For more, visit andreadawnmusic.com.
Larry Tobias is a songwriter and the lead singer for The Grand Tour, a tribute to the music and legacy of George Jones. He is making his Paramount and Chicago area debut as “Da” in Once The Musical. Regionally he has performed at Baltimore Center Stage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Flat Rock Playhouse, The Mountain Playhouse and O’Neill Theater Center. In New York, he played Harry Truman in Here’s Hoover: The Herbert Hoover Comeback Special. TV and film credits include Nashville (ABC), A Gift of Love (CBS),Donnie Brasco, Private Parts, Ding-a-ling-less and Ball of Wax. For more, visit thegrandtourconcert.com.