ACT: Composition Competition 2014 Finale

Congratulations to Julian Smith, of the UK, who was declared the winner of our 2014 composition competition in both categories – the judge’s choice and the people’s vote.

The task was to compose a new congregational mass setting.

All four finalists’ entries were sung at Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest, on August 9. ‘Singability’ was put to the test by projecting the melody lines onto a screen so that the audience could join in, and many did.

Once again we were lucky to have Ross Cobb, musical director of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, on hand to adjudicate. In his comments, he illustrated the difficulties inherent in writing music for a congregation, where there is a need for memorable melody that must be ‘simple’ but not ‘simplistic’, and how tricky it can be to embed this within a composition that still feels inspired rather than pedestrian.

Ross recognised that all the entrants’ settings contained elements that were musically interesting, but the overwhelming feel of both judge and audience was that Julian Smith had come closest to writing singable phrases that a congregation would be able to pick up on.

In the course of the event, tributes were paid to Ron Muffett, out late, longserving committee member, in whose memory this year’s competition was dedicated.