JMArts songwriting workshop offered with Galloway Ridge Chatham County Charitable Fund

Siler City, NC – “Sharing Our Musical Voices,” a songwriting workshop for about 20 Jordan-Matthews High School students — culminating in a free public concert — will be offered this spring thanks to a grant by the Galloway Ridge Chatham County Charitable Fund.

Singer-songwriter Mark Dillon will lead “Sharing Our Musical Voices,” a free student songwriting workshop and public concert this spring at Jordan-Matthews High School funded by the Galloway Ridge Chatham County Charitable Fund.

Two hands-on sessions led by musician-songwriter Mark Dillon will be held after school on April 5 and 26. They will introduce songwriting basics and techniques — including production methods and how to copyright original work — and help students begin composing original songs.

The workshop then concludes with a free, public, coffeehouse concert on May 10, where students will present their original work and a guest artist will perform. The concert will be held at 6 p.m. outdoors on the Rotary Stage in downtown Siler City, adjacent to The Chatham Rabbit and NC Arts Incubator.

“The purpose of the songwriting workshop is to write one good song,” says Dillon. “As minor an accomplishment as that sounds, writing one good song leads to the ability to write more good songs (and maybe a few bad ones as well).”

A former Jordan-Matthews music teacher, Dillon was born into a musical family. His first memories are of sitting on Dolly Parton’s lap while watching his great-uncle Lloyd’s country radio show. After finishing a degree in music theory and then a master’s degree in guitar building, he started a business repairing guitars while playing music most nights in the Chicago area. Later, he became a high school music teacher and specialized in teaching popular music and recording.

Dillon went on to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. in music education. He currently performs regularly, including with The Zinc Kings folk and string band, and teaches commercial music at Guilford Technical Community College and songwriting at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He maintains a website at

The Galloway Ridge Chatham County Charitable Fund, which provided funding for “Sharing Our Musical Voices,” awards community grants to Chatham County not-for-profits, public schools and county government agencies to support food, shelter, education and community services projects.

More information about JMArts, including a schedule of all upcoming arts events and information on membership, is available at