In 1992 Savannah Onstage was born out of the love for music. Savannah Onstage was the forerunner of the Savannah Music Festival, a vibrant event showcasing competition winners and many genres of music from around the world.
Along the way, a vocal competition was created to highlight classic American music…the American Traditions Competition. In 2011, we became an independent, nonprofit organization, and we continue to attract new talent celebrating the best of classic American Music.
In the opinion of many, there is no finer city to host such an event than Savannah, Georgia. We are grateful, year after year, to be in the midst of extraordinary performers and their timeless music for five days.
“As a songwriter and performer for more years than I would like to admit, I approached the ATC competition as an 'outlier' is some ways as I've never been involved in anything like this before. I've done hundreds of vocal sessions as a vocal producer, engineer and musician over the years but this was a new DEAL for me! The ATC program and support staff were very professional in every regard with respect to the performers at every moment and most accommodating to their needs. The accompanists were the most accomplished I've ever experienced. I'd also like to add that my compatriot judges were folks of the highest order with respect to their experience in these endeavors and they each had much more experience than I had in this milieu. I think I brought another perspective to align with the other judges that rounded out the judgments we made. I think our opinions were honest and heartfelt and in the main the best decision regarding the eventual winner. I found the contestants to be extraordinary in depth of talent, experience and knowledge and wonderful with our 'heart to heart' chats in the main. The private sessions on Day 3 (?) were very helpful having heard back from several of them about songwriting...go figure! but they haven't seen any royalty statements lately! I had thought I was a little bit out of my element going in; but I think I added a certain perspective that added to the proceedings and it sure was fun to be with you all! I had a great time doing it!” - J. Fred Knobloch, 2014 Judge
2000 ATC Gold Medal winner and professor, John Wesley Wright, addressing Salisbury University in discussion of his DMA research.
“Thank you to all the wonderful new friends I made this week in Savannah, and to the American Traditions Competition for making this opportunity possible! Such a fantastic week of talent and learning.” - Meredith Lustig, 2015 Contestant
“It was truly an honor to have participated in the American Traditions Competition as an adjudicator. The level of ability among the contestants was extraordinarily high, and it was very clear that we were witnessing the launching of a large number of serious vocal careers. The beautiful city of Savannah is the perfect location for a musical competition of such high caliber, and I’m hoping that I can be involved once again with this venerable institution.” - Don Davis, 2013 ATC Judge
"The ATC is a one-of-a-kind competition. It's the only singing competition I know of that represents nearly all genres of the American vocal music. I have been honored to be a judge for the ATC in 2013 and 2014. I have loved every minute of the competition and every minute spent with my fellow judges. We are all passionate about American music and singing. Sometimes the deliberations are extremely difficult, but we are all committed to fairness and impartiality. Performig with my fellow judges on teh Judge's Concert has been wonderful. Savannah is a perfect place to have the competition. It's an enchanting city, the weather in Winter is great and the people are warm, generous and wonderfully hospitable. I can't wait to do it again!" - Rod Gilfry, 2013 ATC judge