A Bethel High School Junior is among a dozen students to be named by the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Theatre Wing as a winner of the 2021 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. Ethan Smith has been involved with music since he was four years old, when he began taking piano lessons. He’s participated in many theatre productions in and out of Bethel, and started writing songs around 2018.
His winning song was titled Some People Just Die.
The song description says Ty, a Black young adult, sings to himself as he walks to the store late at night. Normally an optimistic person, Ty laments that he feels powerless to stop the injustices he sees. Now in its fifth year, the Challenge seeks to cultivate the next generation of musical theater songwriters from among the country’s high school students through mentorships with professional musical theater artists.