About chordsofcourage.org

STEP UP! Student Songwriting Contest, A Program of Chords of Courage

Chords of Courage is changing the conversation from the demoralizing and cynical to the hopeful and inspirational - one song at a time. We have created the first songwriting contest of its kind in the world and are conducting it for the second time during the 2018-2019 school year. The contest is currently open to FrederickCounty, MD middle and high school age students and encourages them to use their creativity to write dynamic and powerful songs about people of particular courage. We are inviting other counties to participate in the 2019-2020 school year

Using Songwriting as a Catalyst for Social Change

Winning songs will be presented at the Awards Concert, Saturday evening, April 13, 2019 at Frederick Community College. Many of the students will sing their award winning songs accompanied by the STEP UP! Band. Student songwriters, some of whom will be provided a STEP UP! mentor, will take leadership roles to encourage the audience to join them in acts of STEPPING UP! inspired by the courageous people about whom they wrote their winning songs. It’s a great way to empower teens to be active members of their community and an incredibly profound experience for everyone.

By creating socially conscious songs with youth today

we help create socially conscious citizens for tomorrow.

We support participating students by offering:

  • Free songwriting workshops with accomplished songwriters
  • Trained mentors to provide guidance in their STEP UP! to make a difference projects
  • Incredible prizes including Frederick Community College scholarships, cash, studio recording and more
  • Easy to use website
  • Quick response time for students, parents and teachers with questions
  • Song subject selection assistance
  • Application fee assistance for those students who can’t afford to pay
  • and more

These actions promote civil discourse and reinforce our belief in 

the power of one song to make real difference.

We are proud to include among our many partners, sponsors and advocates:

  • The Delaplaine Foundation
  • The Ausherman Family Foundation
  • FAME: Frederick Acoustic Music Enterprise
  • Community Foundation of Frederick
  • Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland
  • Asian American Center of Frederick
  • New Spire Arts
  • YMCA
  • Shab Row Recording
  • Torchlight Productions
  • Make N Music
  • Man on the Line, BMI
  • Frederick Children’s Chorus
  • SHIP: Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership
  • Boys & Girls Club

We are honored that Frederick County Public Schools, while not a sponsor,

strongly encourages student participation to complement academic growth and endeavors.


Chords of Courage is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization making your contribution tax deductible.

Caron Dale, Contest Director, StepUp@ChordsofCourage.org