It's official! We have a winner in our 2020-21 Composition Contest!

Since 2018, the Huntsville Master Chorale has held an annual contest for local composers with a cash prize and the chance to have the work performed by The Chorale in concert. This year, due to the pandemic, we decided to open the contest up to give composers all over the world the opportunity to compete.

We were thrilled to receive 56 amazing entries from all around the globe. Choosing a winner was extremely difficult, but not impossible. So, without further ado, the recipient of first place and the $1,000 prize is:

 Cole Reyes of Brooklyn, NY

Mr. Reyes, a student at New York University, composed "I Dream A World," based on a Langston Hughes text to represent this year's theme of Unity and Peace.

Congratulations also to our honorable mention winner:

David Hamilton from Auckland, New Zealand

for his moving choral work with orchestra, “Peace, My Heart.” Hamilton is an award-winning composer whose music has been published and recorded around the globe.

So, our thanks to the many composers who not only met the challenge, but provided our judges with the difficult task of picking a winner from so many amazing entries. It confirmed our thoughts that there are musicians everywhere who braved the isolation of 2020 with creativity and heart. Cheers to creators everywhere who, when faced with difficulty, respond with beauty. We salute you!

Annual Choral Composition Contest

The Huntsville Master Chorale is a long-standing, dynamic performing chamber choir that fosters creativity by keeping excellent choral singing alive in North Alabama. The Huntsville Master Chorale nurtures renowned and emerging composers by commissioning and performing new works while continuing to perform a variety of classic choral literature. Above all, our overarching mission is to keep the art of singing fresh for our audiences!

Each year, The Huntsville Master Chorale sponsors a choral composition contest with a cash prize and the opportunity to have the winning work performed by The Chorale in concert.

Previous winners have included:

2020 - Three Songs of Spring by Timothy Smith

2019 - Ignition by Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke

2018 - April by Andrew Marshall              


Contest Theme for 2020-2021:  UNITY AND PEACE


  • The winning composition must be at a technical level that makes performance possible by a volunteer adult choir of 30 voices.
  • Original compositions only (no arrangements of works by other composers).


  • SATB (Sopranos C4-G5, Altos G3-D5, Tenors C3-F4, Basses G2-D4) Moderate divisi will be allowed.
  • Moderate tessitura and harmonic language for all parts.
  • Due to the intention of performing the winning work, these criteria will be very important in the judging process.


  • The composer will choose the text, either sacred or secular, based on the theme UNITY AND PEACE.
  • Text should be Public Domain or the composer’s own creation. The text should be accompanied by documentation clearly confirming that the composer has secured permission to set it to music and to present it in public performances. (Any costs related to securing said permission are solely the responsibility of the composer.)
  • English is preferred, but pieces that use other languages will be considered.

Accompaniment and Length:

  • A capella and/or accompaniment by piano, string quartet up to chamber orchestra, or solo instrument
  • At least 3 minutes but not more than 10 minutes

DEADLINE EXTENDED - Submissions will now be received through January 31, 2021

  • Compositions need not be newly created for this competition; however, all submissions must not have been previously adjudicated or performed in public. The Huntsville Master Chorale will make the world premiere performance of the winning entry.
  • Electronic submissions (PDF) are strongly preferred, using the email address below. Scores submitted in hard copy will only be returned if they are accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
  • Scores must be clear and ready for duplication and performance, using one of the standard music printing programs (Finale, Sibelius, etc.)
  • If composers submit their work written by hand, this should be clearly legible and neat.
  • A completed copy of the form below must accompany each submission. Please remove all identifying marks for submitted scores as the judging will be conducted anonymously.
  • Entries using copyrighted lyrics must include written permission to use the lyrics.
  • No more than two compositions will be accepted from a single composer.
  • The names of all participants will be held in confidence.


A panel comprised of three guest judges and the Chorale’s Artistic Director will review all submissions and select the winning composition. This evaluation will consider the quality of the piece and its suitability for a successful performance by The Chorale. The winning piece and composer will be announced by email and social media platforms on March 1, 2021. The decision of the judging is final. Should the compositions submitted not meet the standards set forth, the Huntsville Master Chorale reserves the right to withhold the award.


The Huntsville Master Chorale shall retain unlimited performance and mechanical rights to performances and recordings made by the Huntsville Master Chorale. The composer shall retain all other copy, performance, and mechanical rights to their works.

Award: $1000

By accepting the cash award, the winner grants performance and recording rights to the Huntsville Master Chorale.


Submit PDF scores to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Submit printed scores by mail to:

Huntsville Master Chorale
Attn: HMC Choral Competition
P.O. Box 1774
Huntsville, AL 35807

Click Here for the Contest Submission Form

 Further Questions?  Contact us at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Patricia Ramirez Hacker, Artistic Director







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The Huntsville Master Chorale
PO Box 1774 | Huntsville, AL 35807