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Poetry in Motion

ENTRIES DUE: Friday, December 15th @ 11:59 PM

VIVA Singers Toronto proudly announces a Canada-wide competition for a NEW SATB a cappella choral composition with a $500 top prize for the winning piece. VIVA is a family of seven choirs committed to providing programming, education, and enrichment opportunities for creators with wide ranges of experience, and from diverse personal and musical backgrounds, through our unique Creation Stream Programming, of which this competition is a part.


Distinguished Advisory Panel:

Lydia Adams, C.M., Artistic Director, Elmer Iseler Singers;

Dr. Darryl Edwards, Voice Professor, Faculty of Music, U of Toronto;

Dr. Jamie Hillman, Director of Choral Studies, Faculty of Music, U of Toronto;

Dr. Tyler Versluis, President, Canadian League of Composers & VIVA Theory Coordinator.


Our rationale:

As an accessible organization, we seek - for singers of all ages and stages - to participate in rich and varied musical expressivities. This competition aims to address one of the troubling gaps in choral literature: flexible or modular choral pieces suitable for creative arrangement which facilitate the participation of wide ranges of singers, particularly singers with disabilities.

Statement of inclusion:

We welcome submissions from composers at all points in their composition journeys, and from composers of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and cultures. Personal information will be removed from submissions prior to sharing them with the advisory panel members. Once a shortlist has been made by the expert panel, identifying information will be shared as part of the deliberation process. Compositions will be assessed based on their adherence to the theme Poetry in Motion, and the selection criteria outlined below.


We seek submissions that:

  • are by a Canadian composer or permanent resident of Canada, residing in Canada;

  • are by a living composer;

  • are four-part a cappella;

  • may be flexible or modular, suitable for creative arrangement to support the performance of a wide range of singers;

  • feature composer-written, or royalty-free, lyrics;

  • are between 3-5 minutes;

  • complements the annual theme: Poetry in Motion; and

  • have not been previously published, nor have been written by any composer under exclusive contract with a publisher.

All submitters can expect to receive:

  • an email from VIVA confirming the receipt of their compositions;

  • an email from VIVA identifying the status of their compositions as of February 29, 2024; and

  • an invitation to VIVA’s spring concert, Poetry in Motion, on May 25th.

While we would love to be able to provide feedback on all submissions, only the top five compositions, as determined by our expert panel of advisors in consultation with VIVA artistic staff, will have the opportunity to attend a Reading and Feedback Session on their piece with the VIVA Chamber Singers. Finalists will be contacted via email in advance of March 1st, 2024.


  • September 15th - Contest opens

  • November 8 @ 7:00 pm EST - Q & A Zoom for prospective submittors with VIVA Artistic Directors (Zoom to be shared on the VIVA website closer to the date)

  • December 15th @ 11:59 pm - Contest closes

  • February-March, 2024 (TBA) - Reading and feedback session for top five finalists with VIVA Chamber Singers

  • March 1st, 2024 - Winner/s announced*

  • May 25th, 2024 - Performance of winning piece at the VIVA spring concert, Poetry in Motion

    * In the event there is more than one winner, as determined by the expert advisory panel, the prize money will be split evenly between the top entries

Submission components:
Submissions for consideration will include all of the following, shared via email with

  • A letter of intent containing:

    • a brief bio of the composer;

    • the composer’s vision and inspiration for the piece they created; and

    • information about the source and/or background of the text selected.

  • A clean PDF of the final score

  • A MIDI file/recording of the composition

  • A signed media and composition release form (to be sent to composers upon submission of piece)

Thank you for your submissions! Please contact with any questions.

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