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Granta Chorale Carol Competition

Want to hear a choir sing your music? If you’re in years 7-13, we’re offering you the opportunity to write your own Christmas carol for choir with the help of feedback from professional composers. The winning carol will be performed by Granta Chorale in concert and the winner will receive a cash prize of £125!

 

How does the competition work?

Please submit a draft of your carol via our online form by 22 September - and at this point you don’t have to have a finished piece!
 
We'll then review the carols anonymously and invite selected entrants to attend a workshop day in October where the choir will rehearse your piece and you'll get a chance to discuss with the singers and our judges Janet Wheeler and Sarah Cattley what's already working well, and what you could improve before you submit your final draft in late October. At that point, we’ll pick a winning carol which will be performed at one or more concerts given by us in December.

 

What’s the brief?

Granta Chorale are looking for a new carol to sing as part of our 2024 Christmas concerts. Submitted carols need to be:​

  • Written for a four-part SATB choir (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) with minimal splitting parts. You can either write for just the choir, or you can add a keyboard part.

  • A good fit for a winter/Christmas themed concert.

  • Your own music, not an arrangement of an existing tune.

  • Set digitally using notation software like MuseScore or Sibelius First (both free to use) and submitted as a PDF. Please also provide a computer-generated audio of your composition like an MP3 or MIDI file.

  • Written with good amateur singers in mind.

  • A setting of existing lyrics, or words you have written yourself:

    • Any existing words you choose must either be out of copyright or accompanied by the written permission of the copyright holder.

    • Text about the Christmas story or the season of winter is likely to be most suitable.

    • You can choose words of an existing well-known carol, but the music you write should be entirely new.

    • If you decide to write your own words, these should be in English or in your first language (with accompanying English translation).

Can I get help with my composition from a teacher or family member?

You are welcome to ask for help from a teacher, friend, family member or anyone else when you are writing your piece - however, we ask that you let us know the nature of any help that you’ve had when you submit your piece. This will help us work out the best kind of feedback to give you when judging your carol.

 

2024 Competition timeline​

  • 22 September, 11.59pm - Submission 1: Please submit your carol, or part of your carol, by 11.59pm on 22 September using the online submission form linked below on this page. If you are writing a piece with a ‘verse/chorus’ structure, we would ask that you submit music for at least one verse + chorus. We will ask you to include:

    • Your details and the details of a parent or guardian if you're under 18

    • A PDF and audio file of your submission

    • Information about any help you’ve received from teachers, friends or family

    • Anything else you'd like us to know about your piece

  • Late September: We'll be contacting you in late September to let you know whether or not you have been shortlisted. ​

  • 12 October, 10am-1pm - In-person workshop:  If your carol is shortlisted, you will be invited to join us in person for a day-time workshop near Saffron Walden where the choir will rehearse your piece and you'll get a chance to discuss with the singers and our judges Janet and Sarah what's already working well, any possible changes and how you might finish the carol.

  • 3 November, 11.59pm - Submission 2: If you attended the workshop, we will ask you to submit your finalised carol by 11.59pm on 3 October.

  • Mid-November: We will get in touch with shortlisted entrants who provided a second submission to let them know whether they have won a prize or not.

  • 14 December, 7pm - Concert: The winning carol(s) will be performed as part of a concert at All Saint’s Church, Jesus Lane (‘The Painted Church’) in Cambridge.

Sign up to receive competition updates

Thinking about entering or know young people who are interested? Join our competition mailing list now to receive updates about upcoming competition deadlines.

Submit your carol

Please submit your initial carol using the online submission form below. You'll need to fill in some contact details, upload a PDF of your submission and an accompanying audio file and there are spaces where you can let us know further details about you and your submission.

 

You will receive an automated email within 10mins of submitting to let you know we've successfully received your application. You are welcome to edit your application after you'd submitted by using the 'edit' link at the bottom of that email.

I have a question!

If you have a question about your submission, the competition or anything else please get in touch with us by emailing carols@grantachorale.org.uk.

 

We want to make sure everyone has the chance to shine, so if you have any accessibility accommodations or other concerns you would like us to be aware of, please let us know.

Submit your carol

Terms & Conditions

  • Entrants must be in school years 7-13 on 22 September 2024.

  • Any words set in the composition must be out of copyright, be accompanied by the written permission of the copyright holder, or be written by the entrant themselves.

  • Compositions must be set using digital notation software and submitted as a PDF with an accompanying audio file (like a MP3 or MIDI file).

  • Entrants must be able to attend a day-time workshop near Saffron Walden on Saturday 7 October in person (with an accompanying parent or guardian if they are under 18).

  • Entrants who are under 18 must submit their composition using the contact details of a parent or guardian.

  • Granta Chorale intends to award the following prizes: First Prize £125, Second Prize £75

  • Granta Chorale reserves the right not to award any prizes if there are no suitable entries.

  • By submitting a composition, entrants agree that Granta Chorale can print copies of the submission and give the first performances of the piece in December 2024.

  • Entrants retain the copyright of their submitted composition.

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