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SOLO Songwriter Festival Performer Awarded Buddy Holly Educational Foundation Scholarship

Jun 21, 2018 09:50AM ● By Staff Writer

Photo: Shot of Sara Douga at SOLO Sessions, presented in downtown Lafayette’s First United Methodist Church on May 25. The evening was the world premiere of the workshop participants’ collaborations, offering an exclusive look and listen at the results of this first SOLO songwriting event.

South Louisiana Songwriters Festival & Workshop (SOLO) scholarship recipient and musical standout Sara Douga attended the Chris Difford Songwriting Retreat this week in Glastonbury, England following her performance at the highly successful, inaugural SOLO hosted in Lafayette May 22-27. 

SOLO was jointly sponsored by Mayor-President Joel Robideaux’s CREATE initiative, the Buddy Holly Foundation Educational Foundation and BMG Music, marking first time the workshop was held in the U.S. The Foundation annually presents similar songwriting events in the U.K. and selected Lafayette for the first stateside workshop because of its authentic and rich culture and abundance of musical talent. The Foundation has already committed that SOLO will return to Lafayette again in 2019.

Douga’s participation at the Chris Difford Songwriting Retreat was made possible through a scholarship provided by the Buddy Holly Foundation Educational Foundation. For the past six years the annual Chris Difford retreat has been sponsored by the Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting musical education for young people, particularly songwriters who exhibit the attributes that made Buddy Holly legendary.

“I’m thrilled that Sara’s participation in SOLO has opened another door for her to pursue a career in music. Initiating events where these types of interactions and opportunities can occur in Lafayette are exactly what I envisioned when launching CREATE,” stated Robideaux. CREATE is an initiative of the Mayor-President’s office which supports Lafayette Parish’s Culture, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Tourism Economy and builds and diversifies the community’s cultural assets as an economic driver.

The invitation-only Glastonbury retreat happening this week provides young songwriters and performers the opportunity to write songs and perform together with world-famous musicians and producers. Noted musicians teaching at this year’s retreat include Difford, co-founder and songwriter for the legendary band Squeeze, and Beth Nielson Chapman, co-writer of Faith Hill’s multi-platinum smash “This Kiss.”

Working with other accomplished SOLO songwriters, Douga was inspired to write “Little Orphan Child,” which led the Foundation board to award her the U.K. scholarship. “The Foundation was so impressed by the young, local talent at SOLO that the decision was made to send a representative to the Glastonbury retreat to build a bridge between our workshops in the U.S. and the U.K.,” said Peter Bradley, Jr., a member of the Foundation Board. “We were blown away by Sara’s creativity, talent, and raw emotion, and the board is proud to recognize this brilliant young songwriter. We hope that this chance to learn from some of the world’s greatest musicians will help her grow her craft.”

In 2001, Douga was named winner of the Texaco Country Showdown by radio station KYKZ in Lake Charles for her local hit, “Boots, Bras, and Drawers.” Shortly after releasing her debut original album in April 2018, she was invited to play at the 3rd Street Songwriter Festival in Baton Rouge, leading to her scholarship to the SOLO Workshop. Douga lives in Lafayette with her husband and children and in addition to her musical career, is also a published wildlife biologist with a passion to inspire others through her music. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation has provided,” she said. “They have truly changed my life.”

About The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation

The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation founded by Peter Bradley, Senior and Maria Elena Holly to honor the music, life, legacy and dreams of Maria Elena’s late husband Buddy Holly. The mission of the Foundation is to honor Buddy Holly’s tremendous legacy and to fulfill Buddy’s and Maria Elena’s dream of extending musical education, including songwriting, production, arranging, orchestration, and performance education to new generations regardless of creed, ethnicity or income level. In this way, the Foundation wants to empower a new generation to follow in Buddy's footsteps and remind them of his heritage. For more information on the Foundation visit