Schola Cantorum offers an opportunity for young local poets to hear their words
put to music by the renowned composer Eric Tuan and sung by a choir of
seventy-five voices under the direction of Schola’s artistic director, Buddy
James. The contest is a contemporary venture of artistic collaboration and
community, open to high school students who live or attend school in Santa Clara
2019–2020 Theme: “California’s Natural Beauty”
Prizes are: $500 First Place; $300 Second Place; $200 Third Place. While only
the First Place poem will be set to music and performed at a live concert, all
prize winners will be featured in Schola Cantorum’s publicity materials and on
the group’s website.
The contest will be judged by a panel consisting of a local Poet Laureate, a
local journalist, Schola Cantorum Directors and composer Eric Tuan. The
submission deadline is September 27, 2019. The 10 finalists will be announced
in early January, 2020. The three winning poems will be announced at Schola’s
early spring concerts which are scheduled for Saturday, February 29 and
Sunday, March 1. The title of this Schola concert is “Into the West”. The
music selected for performance at this concert will be choral music from and
inspired by the Great American West Coast, featuring the works of composers
Morten Lauridson, Eric Whitacre and others.
We recommend all entrants read the rules carefully before entering. Entry in the
competition will be deemed to be acceptance of these conditions.
Deadline for entries: September 27, 2019 at 11pm.
Finalists notified: early January, 2020.
Winners announced: At Schola Cantorum’s Early Spring concert “Into the West”,
on February 29, 2020 and on March 1, 2020.
Entry Conditions and Guidelines
The contest is free and open to all students attending 9th, 10th, 11th, or
12th grades in the fall of 2019, who live or attend school in Santa Clara
There is a maximum of 2 poems per entrant. All poems must be in English, be
the original work of the author and not have been previously published or won
another competition at the time of entry. For the purpose of this contest,
the following definition of “published” will apply: intentionally distributed
to the public in any format “accepted for publication or broadcast in any
format including self-publishing for monetary gain”. Poems may have been part
of a school assignment and reviewed by a High School teacher.
No entrant may win more than one prize.
All poems must have a title and be 20 lines or less (title and spaces between
stanzas do not count). Any rhyme scheme except free verse is allowed. The
evaluation of the poems will be partially based upon their ability to be
adapted into a choral composition.
All entries must be submitted online, through
this form. No late entries will be
accepted. Entries received after the deadline will be disqualified. No postal
entries are accepted — sorry. We do hope you can find someone to help you with
an online entry — or try your school or local library.
Each entry must be the entrant’s/author’s original work. Should an entry be
found to contain any plagiarized content it will be automatically
disqualified from the competition, along with any additional work by that
The author agrees to grant Schola Cantorum an irrevocable, royalty-free,
non-exclusive license of unlimited duration to publish, perform, display,
broadcast, reproduce, distribute, transmit, display, and create derivative
works, in part or in whole, award-winning or commended entries and photographs
on the Schola Cantorum website, in an anthology and/or in media publications or
Schola Cantorum also reserves the right to give entrants’ contact details to
the media, if among the winners.
Judging and Notifications
The 10 finalists for the contest will be judged anonymously by Schola’s
Directors, a local journalist, and a local Poet Laureate.
Finalists will be notified in early January, 2020. The judges’ decision is
final and no correspondence will be entered into.
The top three winners will be announced at Schola’s early spring concert. The
first prize winning poem (or an excerpt of the poem) will be used in a choral
performance at that concert. Prizes will be presented at this event. Prizes
will be mailed if winner cannot attend in person.
Submissions that do not fulfill the requirements will not be judged.
Prior Contest Winners
2016: “Love Poem in Blue” by Sonnet Phelps, set to music by Dawn Reyen. 2017: “Starry Night” by Albert Zhao, set to music by Marjorie Halloran. [Recording]