This year’s MAMM SLAM, a battle of teen rock musicians, will end May 9 on a decidedly academic note.

Maine College of Art in Portland is offering yearly scholarships of up to $16,000 for each person in the winning act. The money comes from a $3 million gift from the Bob Crewe Foundation to MECA, given last year to help the Portland art college fund a music minor and music courses as part of the curriculum.

When MECA received the gift in April, it began meeting with community groups to discuss how to use it, including the nonprofit Maine Academy of Modern Music, which runs MAMM SLAM. Raffi Der Simonian, the college’s director of marketing and communications said offering MECA scholarships to MAMM SLAM competitors makes sense, since the musicians involved are likely to consider studying the arts.

The music academy reaches “some of the most creatively inclined young people in the state, so their target audience is similar to ours,” Der Simonian said.

Bob Crewe was a famed pop songwriter who wrote or co-wrote dozens of hits in the 1960s and ’70s and was especially known for his work with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Though from New Jersey, Crewe had family in Maine and came to a Scarborough nursing home a few years ago. He died in September at age 83.

Jeff Shaw, director of MAMM, said the addition of the scholarship money to the prize package likely will prompt more bands and individual acts to sign up for the event. The 6-year-old music competition usually draws 10 to 20 entrants.

The scholarship money given to winners will be between $10,000 and $16,000 a year, depending on need and other criteria used by the college, for up to four years, which is how long MECA’s fine art degree program is designed to last.

MaineToday.com, which like the Maine Sunday Telegram is owned by MaineToday Media, is a sponsor of the competition. Other prizes to be given out to the winner, whether a band or a solo act, include $1,000 in cash, free studio recording time, a chance to perform at the 2015 Old Port Festival, and a tour of Gateway Mastering Studio in Portland, run by Grammy-winning mastering engineer Bob Ludwig.


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