Silliman Congregational Song Competition
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Mission Statement

The mission of this competition is to support composers, music directors, and congregations by facilitating the creation of transformational Unitarian Universalist songs.

About the Competition

The UUMN biannually presents a competition in honor of Vincent B. Silliman, whose work in the middle half of the 20th Century helped shape the hymnody of the Unitarian Universalist and Ethical Culture movements. This year, we are looking for songs suitable for congregational singing in Unitarian Universalist worship services, otherwise known as “hymns”.

General Guidelines for 2018

The deadline is April 30, 2018. Early submissions are encouraged.

  • Composers with new and recent unpublished compositions are strongly encouraged to participate.
  • Diversity of musical styles, composers, and languages is encouraged. Lyrics should be compatible with UU principles and sources.
  • The music can be unison or with harmonies, include piano accompaniment (helpful if also includes chord symbols), in lead sheet form (melody, lyrics, and chords), or a full score with instrumentation.
  • Submissions should range from short UU praise songs, tropes, or rounds of approximately 8 to 16 bars in length, to longer songs or hymns of approximately 24 to 32 bars in length (minimum of 2 verses).
  • Songs should be singable by congregations of varying sizes, singing abilities and ranges. A general guideline is to keep the range roughly within an octave, and no more than a tenth (Bb below middle C to D a ninth above middle C). 
  • There is a $15 entry fee per composition; maximum 2 entries per person. Payments are collected online at the time of application.
  • Submissions should include two notated pdfs (one with composer's name and one without) plus an audio recording in mp4, mp3, or wav file format. This does not need to be a professional recording; it can be made on a phone or through a music notation program. A link to a YouTube video recording is helpful.
  • You may submit a song that is not notated (i.e., a song to teach paperless by rote), but you will need to submit a lyric sheet along with your audio or video recording. Inclusion of chords is helpful.
  • Composers do not need to be Unitarian Universalist to participate.
  • Entrants will retain all the rights to their compositions. However, winners must grant UUMN permission to photocopy scores for judging and performance and for inclusion in the 2018 UUMN conference program directory. Composers must state that they are the copyright holders.
  • Compositions can be submitted December 15, 2017 - April 30, 2018 at Early submissions are encouraged.
PRIZES: 1st Place $1000, 2nd Place $500, 3rd Place $250

The winners plus 9 honorable mentions will be featured during a reading session at the UUMN Conference in Portland, OR, August 1 - 5, 2018.
For further information, contact


Previous Awards

2016 - Hymn Competition

  •  Blessed Be - Music & Lyrics Robin Renee
  • For the Beauty of the Earth - Music by Lia Davis, Lyrics by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint 
  • Juntos Cantamos - Music by Elizabeth Scribner/Christine Lucas, Lyrics by Annie Pal
  • Let Peace Expand - Music & Lyrics by Lisa Murray
  • The Light Of the Spirit - Music by David Kent, Lyrics by Rev Sarah Tinker
  • One Small World -  Music & Lyrics Lucy Holstedt
  • Open Your Heart To The Joy - Music & Lyrics Cheryl Ritch
  • People of Hope - Music & Lyrics Darryl Loiacano
  • Seed of Hope - Music & Lyrics by John Kramer
  • The Stream of Life (Come Take My Hand) - Music by Theresa Woody, Verse lyrics adapted from Rabindranath Tagore, Chorus Lyrics by Theresa Woody
  • Together - Music by Chris Hayden, Lyrics by Myrna Adams West

2014 - Hymn Competition

1st place

  • Pass On The Light - Clif Hardin, music; Jan Elicker, text
  • We Will Walk Together - Clif Hardin, music; Jan Elicker, text
  • Rivers of Grace - Carla Gates 

Honorable mention

  • Keepers of The Earth - Joyce Poley
  • Here Together - David M. Glasgow
  • We Are Sunshine in the Streets - David Burrows

People's choice

  • Keepers of The Earth - Joyce Poley

2012 - All music set to text: "Morning So Fair to See"

  • Congregational Hymn: Paul Ayres
  • Children's Choir Anthem: George B. Chave
  • SATB Anthem: Beverly McLarry

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The Mission of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network is to nurture, educate, and inspire UU music leaders to create dynamic and transformative music ministries and to model and promote excellence in shared ministry. The members of UUMN covenant to support and motivate one another in joyous and loving community.