Dundalk native wins Ocean City songwriting contest
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 11:20

Song written by Chuck Conjar takes top prize

by Nicole Rodman

    When Dundalk native Chuck Conjar, now of Rosedale, first heard about the Ocean City, Md., Song of Summer contest, he knew he had to enter.
    Now, he is celebrating as his song, “Ocean City Days” becomes the beach town’s official 2012 summer anthem.

    “For me, writing a song about Ocean City is always something I’ve had in me,” Conjar explained in a phone interview last Thursday.
    A longtime musician and songwriter, as soon as he was notified about the contest by his sister, Helen, he immediately began working on his song.
    For Conjar, writing a song about Ocean City came fairly easily.
    An avid fan of the beach town, Conjar and his family spend time in Ocean City each year regardless of where else they may travel.
    Coming up with the perfect Ocean City summer song was just a matter of thinking back on these decades of enjoyment.
    While he could not include all of his favorite Ocean City activities (putt-putt, carnival rides and fishing didn’t make the cut), Conjar knew that the ocean itself had to be the main feature of the song.
    Over the next three weeks, Conjar poured much of his extra time into writing and recording his song.
    The song begins with Conjar singing of his childhood days spent on the “golden sands of my Ocean City beach.”
    As the song progresses, Conjar sings of growing up and how he still spends time each summer in Ocean City.
    Settling on a tune reminiscent of waves lapping along the shore, Conjar then spent weeks getting the background vocals on the song just right.
    According to Conjar, he was looking for a sound akin to The Beach Boys, one of his major musical inspirations.
    Other influences include Tom Petty and The Beatles.
    Once the song was completed, Conjar and more than 50 other songwriters waited eagerly as the contest administrators chose the three finalists.
    Once the top three songs were chosen, they were posted on the Ocean City Facebook page, where fans were able to vote for their favorite.
    Admitting that he did pay close attention to the Facebook vote count during the contest, Conjar noted that he quickly jumped to an early lead thanks to support from family, friends and colleagues at Towson University, where he works.
    Noting last week that he is not typically the self-promoting type, Conjar explained that he even campaigned to total strangers, telling each clerk and cashier he encountered to listen and vote for his song.
    When the contest finally ended last Tuesday, Conjar had won, walking away with more than 50 percent of the vote.
    As winner of the contest, Conjar’s song was officially declared Ocean City’s Song of the Summer for 2012.
    Conjar will get eight hours of recording time at The Park Recording Studio in Ocean City, where he will work with local singer/producer Bryan Russo to polish his song.
    Conjur was also invited to perform the song at Ocean City’s Sun Fest this September.
    The song will eventually be available for free download from iTunes.
    Conjar hopes that the song, and the exposure that comes with it, will help him advance his musical career.
    A longtime musician and songwriter, he currently performs in a band called Double Play with friend Larry Dernetz.
    According to Conjar, the band plays at a variety of functions, including weddings, clubs and parties.
    He also leads the music during contemporary praise services at Graceland United Methodist Church, where he is an active member.
    While he is enjoying his current success, Conjar plans to continue entertaining audiences and trying to get his music heard.
    And, while he is excited for the chance to share his music (and love of Ocean City) with a wider audience, it is his love of music that, ultimately, continues to drive him forward.
    As he concluded last week, “I would write songs even if no one ever heard them.”
    To listen to Conjar’s winning song, “Ocean City Days,” visit ococean.com/songofsummer.
    To hear more of Conjar’s music, visit www.youtube.com/user/chuckconj.