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2019 Anthem Competition Guidelines

First Baptist Church of Worcester, Massachusetts
The Thirteenth Annual International Anthem Competition
First Prize: $1000
Second Prize: $500
Third Prize: $300

For composers under the age of 45 (born after January 2, 1974)

The First Baptist Church Anthem Competition seeks to encourage emerging composers to create anthems on texts with meaningful and relevant spiritual themes. We welcome submissions from composers of all faiths and backgrounds for use in both liturgical and concert settings, which can be sung by both community and professional ensembles alike.

Anthem submissions should be composed according to the following guidelines:

1. SATB-4-part style, with organ or piano accompaniment or a cappella. Part writing may include unison and diverse voice combinations, including unaccompanied sections. Divisi should be used carefully (up to 6 parts only) and sparingly. In addition, inserted solos are acceptable. All melodies must be original, and not based on hymn tunes or preexistent tunes by other composers. The duration of your piece should be approximately four to eight minutes maximum. Compositions should be performable by a medium-level SATB choir and instrumentalists so that it is ideal for use in liturgical as well as concert settings. All pieces must include a piano reduction of the chorus part for rehearsal use.

2. The composer may supply their own text, or select one that they may use legally. The text should fit the theme of the 2019 Music and Arts week, a summary of which is below:

“The theme for the 2019 Music and Arts Week is Story: uncovering truths about humanity and the divine through narrative. We will explore the stories we use to convey truth to one another, the stories that cultures tell of themselves to help bridge the gaps of misunderstanding, and the stories told by the Divine to cast light on the long arch of justice.”

The theme is drawn from the following scriptures which the composer may employ in part or in whole as a text:

Luke 10: 29-37
Psalm 101
John 12: 35-36

3. Entries must be submitted without your name on manuscript itself. Each entry will be judged without reference to the composer. Submissions should be immediately readable, preferably engraved in one of the primary computer music writing programs, such as Finale or Sibelius.

4. All entries should include your full name, identification, your birth date, and your birth location, as well as your current address and phone. All of this information should be submitted in an electronic file (if you are sending your entry by electronic means) or in an enclosed sealed business envelope (if you are applying by postal mail). If you are applying by mail, please do not print your name or address on the outside of your mailing envelope.

5. Composers may submit multiple entries, if they wish. However, a composer may not apply every year, but only every other year, that is, not in consecutive years but only every second year. The submissions must be newly written for this specific competition.

6. Electronic submissions are preferable, and are accepted until February 12, 2019, by email to in pdf format with proper cover letter for identification. However, if you wish, you may submit your entry (or entries) by postal mail to: 2019 Anthem Competition, First Baptist Church, 111 Park Avenue, Worcester MA 01609. Please note: The postmark date must be no later than February 12th, 2019 and scores that are submitted by postal mail will not be returned to the sender following the competition.

7. A jury of three impartial judges will review all entries and the winner will be announced no later than April 5, 2019. An official first performance will be given by the Chancel Choir and Minister of Music, Wesley Hall, at the First Baptist Church on the Sunday of Music & Arts Week in April 2019.

8. The work that receives the first prize will be recorded by the First Baptist Chancel Choir during or shortly after the 2019 Music and Arts Week, and the composer will be supplied with a recording shortly thereafter. The prize money will be sent within two weeks of the first performance of the work. FBC retains the rights not to select winners if no compositions are deemed prize-worthy.

9. The composer retains the rights to publish the composition and the following will appear on the title page of the published (or self-published) work: “Commissioned by the First Baptist Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, May 4th 2019”

10. First Baptist Church will have unlimited rights to copy, perform and record the composition for its own use or for commercial distribution.

11. Please direct all questions to Wesley Hall, Minister of Music, or check An excellent resource to consider for composing for the pipe organ is A Guide to the Pipe Organ for Composers and Others (available through the American Guild of Organists)