Silliman Congregational Song Competition
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Mission Statement

The mission of this competition is to support composers, music directors, and congregations by facilitating the creation of transformational Unitarian Universalist songs.

About the Competition

The Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries presents a competition in honor of Vincent B. Silliman, whose work in the middle half of the 20th Century helped shape the hymnody of the Unitarian Universalist and Ethical Culture movements. We look to foster the development of songs suitable for congregational singing in Unitarian Universalist worship services, otherwise known as “hymns”.

General Guidelines for 2021

Submissions open in January 2021. The deadline is April 30, 2021. Early submissions are encouraged.

  • Composers with new and recent unpublished compositions are strongly encouraged to participate.

  • Diversity of musical styles, composers, and languages is encouraged. Lyrics should lift up and support Unitarian Universalist principles and sources.

  • The music can:

    • be unison or with harmonies;

    • include piano accompaniment;

    • be in lead sheet form; or

    • be a full score with instrumentation.

  • Submissions can range from short UU praise songs, tropes, or rounds of approximately 8 to 16 bars in length, to longer songs or hymns of approximately 24 to 32 bars in length (minimum of 2 verses).

  • Songs should be singable by congregations of varying sizes, singing abilities, and ranges. A general guideline is to keep the range roughly within an octave, and no more than a tenth (Bb below middle C to D a ninth above middle C). 

  • There is an entry fee per composition; a maximum of 2 entries per person. Payments will be collected online at the time of application.

  • Submissions should include two notated PDFs (one with the composer's name and one without) plus an audio recording in mp4, mp3, or wav file format. This does not need to be a professional recording; it can be made on a phone or through a music notation program. A link to a YouTube video recording can also be submitted.

  • The combined size of all files may not exceed 30 MB.

  • You may submit a song that is not notated (i.e., a song to teach paperless by rote), but you will need to submit a lyric sheet along with your audio or video recording. The inclusion of chords is helpful.

  • Composers do not need to be Unitarian Universalists to participate.

  • Entrants will retain all the rights to their compositions. However, winners must grant AUUMM permission to photocopy scores for judging and performance and for inclusion in the AUUMM. Composers must state that they are the copyright holders.

PRIZES: 1st Place $1000, 2nd Place $500, 3rd Place $250

The winners plus 9 honorable mentions will be featured during a reading session at the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries 2021 Annual Conference.


Previous Awards

2018 - Hymn Competition

1st place
  • "Stonecatcher" by Carol Caouette

2nd Place
  • "Love Has Already Won" by Jason Shelton

3rd Place
  • "We Have Enough" by Angela Salvaggione and Beverly Feldt

2016 - Hymn Competition

  • “Blessed Be” - Music & Lyrics by Robin Renee

  • “For the Beauty of the Earth” - Music by Lia Davis, Lyrics by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint 

  • “Juntos Cantamos” - Music by Elizabeth Scribner/Christine Lucas, Lyrics by Annie Pal

  • “Let Peace Expand” - Music & Lyrics by Lisa Murray

  • “The Light Of the Spirit” - Music by David Kent, Lyrics by Rev Sarah Tinker

  • “One Small World” -  Music & Lyrics Lucy Holstedt

  • “Open Your Heart To The Joy” - Music & Lyrics Cheryl Ritch

  • “People of Hope” - Music & Lyrics Darryl Loiacano

  • “Seed of Hope” - Music & Lyrics by John Kramer

  • “The Stream of Life (Come Take My Hand)” - Music by Theresa Woody, Verse lyrics adapted from Rabindranath Tagore, Chorus; Lyrics by Theresa Woody

  • “Together” - Music by Chris Hayden, Lyrics by Myrna Adams West

2014 - Hymn Competition

1st place
  • “Pass On The Light” - Music by Clif Hardin; Lyrics by Jan Elicker

  • “We Will Walk Together” - Music by Clif Hardin; Lyrics by Jan Elicker

  • “Rivers of Grace” - Music and Lyrics by Carla Gates 

Honorable Mention
  • “Keepers of The Earth” - Joyce Poley

  • “Here Together” - David M. Glasgow

  • “We Are Sunshine in the Streets” - David Burrows

People's Choice
  • “Keepers of The Earth” - Joyce Poley

2012 - All music set to text: "Morning So Fair to See"

  • Congregational Hymn: Paul Ayres

  • Children's Choir Anthem: George B. Chave

  • SATB Anthem: Beverly McLarry

Contact Us

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Executive: 17 Johnson Road, West Orange, NJ 07052
Phone: (856) 886-8742



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