American Traditions Competition 2007

Posted by:  Savannah Music Festival


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With up to $30,000.00 in prize money, The American Traditions Competition truly celebrates the vocal music repertoire of the United States. AmericaÂ’s musical genres represent excellence and artistic integrity and our Competition seeks to increase appreciation and celebration of these genres. In its 14th year and with an average attendance of 2000 people, the event will take place in Savannah, Georgia from March 26- March 30, 2007.

Submitting to the Competition:

Applicants will submit 3 songs (no longer than 15 minutes total) by American composers that will be judged for consideration to participate in the Quarterfinal round of the competition. Singers must perform the same representative selections as the songs submitted (and in the same order as submitted) and must cover each of the following categories:

Category 1: Song by Johnny Mercer chosen from the list of selections posted on the Johnny Mercer Song Database, maintained at the Special Collections Department at Georgia State University,

Category 2: Song (with lead-in material, if appropriate) from a musical theater work by one of the following composers:

Harold ArlenIrving Berlin
Jerry BockGeorge M. Cohan
Cy ColemanVernon Duke
George GershwinJenny Herman
Jerome KernFrank Loesser
Frederick LoeweCole Porter
Richard RodgersArthur Schwartz
Stephen SondheimJule Styne

Category 3: Selection of your own choice that represents an American tradition or is composed by an American.

*In addition to songs from these 3 categories, applicantsÂ’ submissions must include a performance of the first verse of The Star Spangled Banner without accompaniment. This is solely for evaluation purposes and will not be part of your quarterfinal program.

Applicants will also be asked to submit information (but not recordings) of the songs they will perform if they advance to future rounds of the competition. You will be asked to submit information for each selection including: Song title, Composer, Category represented (must have a selection for each category) and Accompaniment.

Rounds of the Competition:

Quarterfinal Round: As many as 30 contestants will advance to the Quarterfinals and will present a live performance of the exact same material in the same order as submitted in the preliminary round submission.

Semi-Final Round: Up to 12 contestants will be selected to advance to the Semi-finals and will perform at least 1 (one) selection from each of the following three categories:

Category 1: Spirituals, hymns or songs of praise

Category 2: Selections composed by Duke Ellington. A list of songs can be found at

Category 3: Selections of your choice which represent an American tradition. These may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Art songs or operatic excerpts by U.S. composers

  • Blues songs by W.C. Handy or his U.S. contemporaries

  • Songs in a jazz or cabaret style

  • Songs from an American-produced film or TV feature

  • Final Round: Up to 6 contestants will be chosen for the Finals and will present a program using any remaining material from their original program. Contestants may perform songs from any of the fore mentioned categories, as long they represent American traditions, are composed by an American, and have not been performed in earlier rounds of the competition. Final programs may not exceed 15-minutes in length.

    Submissions will be judged by local music experts. Judges for Quarter/Semi/Final Rounds are John Clanton, Robert Marks, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Robert Sims, and Sandra Walker.

    Special note and reminder to all applicants:

    *All competition rounds are no more than 15 minutes. Contestants will be penalized if they exceed the 15-minute time allocation.

    *Each round must include selections from the round-specific categories listed above.

    *Contestants must perform songs composed by American composers.

    *If selected to advance to the next round, you may not repeat a song.

    *Accompaniment will be only piano (or piano, bass & drums).

    *Accompanists will be provided at no cost OR you may bring your own accompanists at your own expense.

    All contestants receive one cash award. Quarterfinalists will receive $250; Semifinalists will receive $500; and Finalists will receive $1000. The first place winner of the whole competition will win the Oxnard Gold Medal ($10,000); the second place winner will win the Courtney Knight Gaines Foundation Silver Medal $5000; and the third place winner will win the Stanton Bronze Medal $2500.

    Please note: Cover songs and original songs are welcome as long as they fit into the competition's categories.