SingDownunder Downunder 2013
Compositions for the Cave
The SingDownunder Choral Festival and Tour is seeking new works by students of secondary school age suitable for singing in the resonant acoustic of Waitomo Caves. The intention is to encourage the composition of choral music, the performance of new choral works by young composers, and to feature works that can be performed in the acoustic of Waitomo Caves.
Works will be judged in the following categories:
Category 1. The best choral work submitted.
Category 2. The best choral work submitted suitable for singing in the Waitomo Caves acoustic, which is also performed at the SingDownunder Adjudication Day at Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Category 3: A special award for the best choral work to any composer whose choir (they must sing in it) performs his or her work in Waitomo Caves, as part of the Sing Down under Festival Tour 2013.
The awards will consist of:
Category 1: $250
Category 2: $250
Category 3: $1000
- The work submitted will be by a student attending secondary school in the year of the competition entry. Works should be by individual students. School details should be provided as well as contact details for the Head of the Music Department at their school.
- The work will be for choir, either accompanied or unaccompanied (Note: pianos are not possible within the cave. Electricity is not available for instruments). It should be a work performable by a competent secondary school choir.
- Duration should be no more than 4 minutes.
- Choice of text is open, although works on the following themes are encouraged:
- unity, harmony
- singing or music
- bringing people together
- Composers are responsible for clearing any copyright on their selected text they wish to use which is not their own.
- Scores should be submitted as a printed score, and where possible accompanied by either a sound file (MIDI or otherwise computer generated), or live performance recording, or as Sibelius music notation file. Recordings and/or computer files should be submitted on a CD.
- A brief note about the work, along with the composer’s contact details should accompany the score separately from the composition. The composer’s name, and the name of the text writer, should be included on the score.
- The deadline for the submission of scores will be 31 May 2013. Entries should be posted to:
Owen Sharpe, SingDownunder Festival and Tour, 11a Kipling Ave, Epsom, Auckland.
- Awards will be announced as follows:
Category 1: as soon as possible after entries close
Category 2: on the day of the SingDownunder Festival Adjudication Day (Wednesday June 26th, 2013)
Category 3: as soon as possible after the performance recordings have been completed
10. Category 1 scores will be judged by festival music director David Hamilton and announced at the Adjudication Day. Category 2 works will be judged by the adjudicators at the Festival Adjudication Day and announced immediately. Category 3 winners will be judged by the Festival Director and Music Director after the recording is released.
11. SingDownunder Festival will be solely responsible for recording of all choirs in the cave. All participating choirs will receive a copy of the recording to which the SingDownunder Festival will retain all rights. It is the intention to make recordings of the work available online and to sell a CD which will be produced. Apart from this recording copyright for the composition will remain the property of the composer.
Notes on the Waitomo Sound
There are few places in the world with such suitable acoustics for a choir to sing and record as the Cathedral Cave at Waitomo. It is a beautiful experience. Both the silence and the sounds seem so wonderful. A side benefit is that it is attached to the world famous glow-worm grotto.
It is deep underground. No windows, doors or roof admit any sound at all. The hard white limestone rock reflects almost all sounds, but the complex shape of the surfaces mean that no nodes of distortion form as they might in a space with some plane walls. The resonant acoustics add a “bloom” to the sound allowing the choral chords to linger in the air and disappear into the ethereal quiet.
The sound is louder; the reflections mean the sound stays longer in the air and volume accumulates. This volume allows the choir members to hear each other.
The sound is longer; the reflections take time to dissipate so each note is given a longer life and dies more gradually.
The sound is deeper; the low notes have longer wavelengths and this means they reverberate for longer than the high notes.
Effort spent disciplining faster works, especially those with fricative sounds, and blended consonants “texted clipped diction” might be entirely lost in the cave.
On the other hand works sung at a slower tempo and made of more round vowel sounds are fabulous, absolutely gorgeous.