Competition for Choral Writing ​

Sponsored by J.W. Pepper

Choral Canada encourages and supports the creation of choral music for choirs and singing groups by emerging/early-career Canadian composers/music creators. Since 2000, composers and music creators from across Canada have submitted their compositions to be considered for the Diane Loomer Award. In 2018, the Stephen Chatman Student Award was introduced to support student composers.


Submissions for the 2024 Competition for Choral Writing are now closed! 

Stay tuned for more details on the 2026 edition.
Competition Regulations and Application Guidelines for each category can be found in the drop-down menus below.


Winners of the 2024 Competition for Choral Writing:

Katharine Petkovski

"When Music Sounds"
Recipient of the 2024 Diane Loomer Award

François Lukawecki

"En plein air"
Recipient of the 2024 Stephen Chatman Student Award

The Selection Committee would also like to give honourable mentions to Xingzimin Pan ("PATH") and Bradley Barnham ("At That Hour") for their submissions to the Diane Loomer Award competition. Nous remercions tout particulièrement les membres anonymes du comité de sélection pour le temps et l'expertise qu'ils ont consacrés à évaluer les nombreuses candidatures au Concours de composition chorale 2024.



The competition includes two categories:

  1. The Diane Loomer Award, sponsored by Cypress Choral Music – open to any emerging/early-career Canadian choral composer.
  2. The Stephen Chatman Student Award – open to any Canadian student or any student currently studying in Canada.

Winners and honourable mentions are chosen by a Selection Committee of esteemed choral artists from across the country. Representatives from the sponsoring organizations are not members of the Selection Committee and have no involvement in the specific allocation of awards.

Each submission will receive constructive written feedback from one of the members of the committee.

The Selection Committee may select up to three honourable mentions per category.

The recipient of the Diane Loomer Award receives a $1,500 cash prize, publication by Cypress Choral Music, and a performance by the National Youth Choir of Canada at the Podium Choral Conference & Festival. The recipient of the Stephen Chatman Student Award receives a $1,500 cash prize and a performance by a prominent choir in Canada.

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2024 Competition Regulations + Application Guidelines
(Download RTF)


The Diane Loomer Award is open to any emerging/early-career* Canadian choral composer. The recipient will receive:

  • the Diane Loomer Award of $1,500
  • a publishing opportunity through Cypress Choral Music
  • a performance by the National Youth Choir of Canada, on tour and at the national Podium Choral Conference and Festival.
  • a feature article about the composer in Choral Canada’s national choral journal Anacrusis 
  • promotion on Choral Canada’s website and social media​​.

*Emerging/early-career: A person who is in the early stages of their career as a music creator/composer. They self-identify as an emerging artist and are in the process of establishing their presence in the choral arts sector. An emerging artist has likely been practicing for less than 10 years, regardless of age or education.

About the Diane Loomer Award:

This important Choral Canada program would not be possible without the generosity of the beloved late Diane Loomer. Internationally recognized as one of Canada’s finest musicians and the first woman to conduct the National Youth Choir of Canada, Diane and Dick Loomer founded Cypress Choral Music in 1988. In 1999, they partnered with Choral Canada to present the first edition of this competition. Today, Diane’s legacy in the Canadian choral community lives on through the Diane Loomer Award, sponsored by Cypress Choral Music.

Past recipients of the Diane Loomer Award:

​2000 - Allan Bevan - Ave Maria
2000 - Ramona Luengen - Mésange
2002 - Michael Unger - Sea Song 
2004 - Allan Bevan - Echo
2004 - Jeff Smallman - Brier
2006 - Allan Bevan - Harp of Wild
2008 - Brian Tate - Africa
2010 - Lavinia Parker - Songs are Thoughts
2010 - Donald Patriquin - Scottish Contrasts
2012 - Elise Letourneau - Peace Prayer
2014 - Matthew Emery - The Lover’s Chant 
2016 - Benjamin Bolden - Tread Softly 
2018 - Sheldon Rose - Will You Fare On, My Song?
2020 - Kevin Pirker - She Walks in Beauty 
2022 - Nicholas Kelly - Wind Rising in the Alleys


The 2024 Diane Loomer Award is sponsored by:



2024 Competition Regulations + Application Guidelines
(Download RTF)


The Stephen Chatman Student Award is open to any Canadian student or any student currently studying in Canada. The recipient will receive:

  • the Stephen Chatman Student Award of $1,500
  • a performance by a choir/singing group in Canada
  • complimentary student membership with Choral Canada (valid for one year from the date of the award)
  • a feature article about the composer in Choral Canada’s national choral journal Anacrusis
  • promotion on Choral Canada’s website and social media

Thanks to a generous donation from Stephen Chatman and Tara Wohlberg, the Stephen Chatman Student Award has been raised to $1,500 in 2024.

Nicholas Kelly + Mari Alice Conrad

Nicholas Kelly

Composition: Wind Rising in the Alleys​ with text by Lola Ridge


Commended by the Vancouver Sun for his "sophisticated work of such immediate, glittery appeal" and called "a rising star in the constellation of Canadian composers" by Oregon Arts Watch, Nicholas Ryan Kelly writes choral, wind ensemble, and chamber music infused with a sense of cinematic drama.

Since 2016, he has won nearly 20 national and international competitions for wind band and (mostly) choral writing, including the Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prize and the Howard Cable Prize from the Canadian Band Association. His music has been performed by most of Western Canada's top choirs, including the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Chor Leoni, Elektra Women's Choir, and Pro Coro Canada. His 2022 commissions include Chronos Vocal Ensemble, the Vancouver Men's Chorus, and the DaCapo Chamber Choir.

A graduate of the music composition programs at Ithaca College (New York) and the University of British Columbia, Nick lives in BC's beautiful Okanagan Valley, where he is involved in many small-town musical activities as a conductor and teacher.

A note from the jury:
A well-crafted choral work, Wind Rising in the Alleys, contains the perfect balance of rhythmic vitality, beautiful melodic line, and harmonic surprise. The piano accompaniment is substantial but never overwhelming and acts as a collaborative partner to the choir - a vocal extension of the SATB texture. The text is meaningful and filled with hopeful images that shares a timely message for our world.

Mari Alice Conrad

Composition: At First Light with text by Anna Marie Sewell


Mari Alice Conrad is an emerging, award-winning composer near Edmonton, Alberta currently studying graduate work in music composition at the University of Alberta. She has composed works for ensembles and performers across Canada including Babɛl Choir (Toronto), Standing Wave Ensemble (Vancouver), Exultate Chamber Singers (Toronto), the Allegra Chamber Orchestra (Vancouver), the SHHH!! Ensemble (Ottawa), Edmonton Winds (Edmonton), Soprano Maghan McPhee and pianist Valerie Dueck (Ottawa), Allen Stiles (Vancouver), Pro Coro Canada (Edmonton), and has mentored young composers through the Tuckamore Widening the Circle Program (Newfoundland).                                                             

Recent performances of her works were featured at Ottawa Chamberfest, Vancouver’s Allegra Chamber Orchestra FestivELLE, Toronto’s East Chamber Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the New Music Edmonton Summer Solstice Festival. Mari Alice’s compositional practice shines an exceptional light on the human condition and fosters curiosity, authenticity, connection, and collaboration.  Her honest and intuitive compositional voice creates a compelling experience for both performers and audiences.

A note from the jury:
I was completely drawn to this music because of the text. How exciting for a young composer to collaborate with an established poet to create this choral piece. This composer uses word painting, dissonant harmonies, and aleatoric techniques to capture the attention of both the singer and the audience.


The jury would also like to give honourable mentions to Edward Enman for his submission to the Diane Loomer Award competition with his composition Where Light is Possible and Benjamin Sigerson for his submission to the Stephen Chatman Student Award competition with his composition What Gentle Stardust, Now Falling​.

A special thank you to our anonymous jury members for their time and expertise in reviewing the numerous submissions of the 2022 Competition for Choral Writing.

- Sponsored advertising -


2024 Competition for Choral Writing sponsored by:

Diane Loomer Award sponsored by:


The Stephen Chatman Student Award made possible by:
Stephen Chatman & Tara Wohlberg




Banner photos: Sam Moffatt Photography