Rhoads tops songwriter competition


Steve Rhoads

WEST CHESTER — The Uptown! Third Annual Songwriter Competition was a hit! Our judges narrowed down many great local artists to five singers for our live show at Sprout Music Collective. They were: Anna Kerstetter, Steve Rhoads, Autumn Walden, Greg Thomas, and Tyneisha Menginie.

Each of the performers performed three original songs and folks were blown away by the amount of talent displayed.   At the end of the night the audience voted for their favorites, and while it was hard to choose, three of our five came out on top.

Steve Rhoads took home first place, Greg Thomas took home second, and our third place winner was Autumn Walden. That being said, all of our finalists are winners in our eyes.

Singer/songwriter Steve Rhoads blends influences of acoustic folk, rock and contemporary country music from artists such as Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Steve Goodman, Jim Croce, Zac Brown and Tim McGraw. With his longtime cowriter and duo partner, Mark Mayfield, Steve co-produced and released an album of original music (see www.Facebook.com/MayfieldRhoads). He also performs covers of influential regional and popular artists. A resident of Chester Springs, PA, Steve performs locally, and with Mayfield throughout the Northeast.

Greg Thomas, 28, is a West Chester, PA-born singer + songwriter who fell in love the with magic of music at an early age. First, he was mystified by the tones of a Casio electric keyboard, inherited from his brother + sister at 6. At 8 he he was given a viola which served as the catalyst for the rest of his musical career. Inspired by many amazing music teachers, friends and fellow artists, he continued playing and honing his craft – along the way learning piano, guitar, drums and the mystery of songwriting. His creations are rich with soul, love – both lost and found – and optimism in tomorrow.
Greg lives in West Chester, PA with his beautiful wife, Nicole, their amazing baby girl, Addison Rae, and faithful dog Pogo.

West Chester is packed with great local talent of all forms; we hope to continue to work with and support them with fun, professional events such as this. We look forward to growing this annual competition and to hosting it our very own theater at the Armory in 2017.

Kicking Down Doors is the folk/americana/rock/soul/and everything in between music of songwriting team Autumn Walden and Ernie Tokay. We met in 2013 and quickly began writing and recording music at Ernie’s home studio, Little Spiders Have Big Dreams Studio, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. To-date, we’ve released three recorded collections: one unofficial EP “The Record”, one official EP “NOW”, and one official LP “The Washing”. We are working to release another LP this summer “Turn the Wishing Wheel”. Our music has received air-play on both 93.7 FM WSTW Wilmington and 88.5 FM WXPN Philadelphia and we’ve performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival for the past two years.

Please take a moment to check out our top three winners:

Steve Rhoads, First Place


Greg Thomas, Second Place



Autumn Walden, Third Place



Uptown! Entertainment Alliance was established in 2010 with the goal of Bringing a Theatre to Downtown West Chester, thus creating a cultural hub for individuals and families within walking distance from the borough’s lively restaurant, pub and shopping district.

Once the renovation is complete, the (still un-named) Armory Theatre will serve as a permanent presence for our community to enjoy the performing arts for generations to come.  Many older West Chester citizens fondly recall the old Warner Theatre on High Street.  Now, we all have the unique opportunity to help bring a theatre back to West Chester.  No donation is too small. For additional information on Uptown! Entertainment Alliance and its efforts to transform the Armory into a Cultural Arts Center visit www.uptownwestchester.org.


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