Fred Merrett Award For New Compositions

Each year the Alberta Guild of English Handbell Ringers (ALGEHR) sponsors the Alberta Handbell Composer’s Competition.

Its major purpose is to encourage the composition of music for handbells by Albertans and at the same time offer some opportunity for these works to be performed.

Download our information package on the competition here:
Fred Merrett Award for New Compositions application forms

Winning titles and composers:

2016
Category A (2-3 octaves Level 1-2+)       Intrada by John Hooper
Category B (3-5 octaves Level 1-2+)       Constellations by Betty Radford
Category C ( Level 3-6)      Introspection by John Hooper

2014
Category A – 2-3 Octave      Song Birds by Betty Radford
Category C – 3-5 Octave      Boardwalk by Betty Radford

2013
Category A – 2-3 Octave      Sunrise by Betty Radford
Category C – Level 3 – 6       Dancing with the Yao People of China by Betty Radford

2012
Category B – 3-5 Octave      Grove and Meadow by Darryl DeWalt
Category C – Level 3 – 6       Pastoral Dance on ‘Comfort, Comfort, Now My People’ by Darryl DeWalt

General Information

There are five classes within the competition:

  • Category A – an original composition or arrangement for 2 –3 octave handbell and/or handchime choir.   Level 1 – 2+
  • Category B – an original composition or arrangement for 3-5 octave  handbell and/or handchime choir. Level 1 – 2+
  • Category C – an original composition or arrangement for any octave set of handbells and/or handchimes   Level 3 – 6
  • Category D – an original composition or arrangement to be performed  by a solo ringer or small ensemble (up to four ringers)
  • Category E – an original composition or arrangement for any range of handbells and/or handchimes by composers under the age of 18.

The composition should be able to be rung on a basic set of 2 or more chromatic octaves of handbells and/or handchimes.

Prizes are as follows:  $200 for each category

In addition, the winning compositions will be presented to the membership at the Guild’s annual Handbell Discovery workshop held each fall.

An application form is attached which must be received along with the manuscripts by the chairperson of the competition by March 31.

Cathy Larson

ALGEHR Composer Competition

248 Boisvert Place

Fort McMurray, AB  T9K 1T2

If you have any questions with regard to this competition, manuscript presentation, or the nature of handbell ringing, please contact your local Guild Board Member or contact the composition competition chairperson:

composer@algehr.org

RULES & REGULATIONS

Category A: entries will consist of an original composition or arrangement in the handbell idiom for ringing on a 2-3 octave set of handbells and/or handchimes.  Level 1 – 2+

Category B: entries will consist of an original composition or arrangement in the handbell idiom for ringing on a 3-5  octave set of handbells and/or handchimes.  Level 1 –2+

Category C: entries will consist of an original composition or arrangement in the handbell idiom for ringing on any octave set of handbells and/or handchimes.  Level 3– 6

Category D:  entries will consist of an original composition or arrangement in the handbell idiom for a solo ringer or small ensemble (up to four ringers)

Category E: entries will consist of an original composition or arrangement in the handbell idiom for any range of handbells and/or handchimes by composers under the age of 18.

  1. Entries must be unpublished and NOT submitted to another contest or publisher for publication during the term of this competition.
  2. The composition should be 3 – 5 minutes in length.
  3. The composition must be categorized according to the level of music.  See Handbell MusicLevels on pages 3 & 4
  4. Five(5) copies of each entry without the name of the composer must be sent to the Chairperson.  Do not send the original copy.  The composer’s permission is requested with their entry for individual judges to duplicate a manuscript solely for the purpose of adjudication and for the performing choir to make sufficient copies for performance.  All copies will be accounted by the Chairperson and will be destroyed at the end of the competition and the performance of winning entries, unless alternative arrangements are made with the composer. (Such instructions to be made known with the entry and would beat the composer’s expense, if any.)
  5. Entrants may enter as many manuscripts as they wish in up to two categories of the competition.
  6. Arrangements must acknowledge the original composer(s). Copyright clearance is the responsibility of the composer/arranger.  Transcriptions will not be accepted.
  7. Successful competitors will be notified by June once a final decision has been made, barring any unforeseen circumstances, and the winners published in the Peal.  ALGEHR reserves the right not to declare a winner.  The decision of the adjudicators will be final.
  8. Entrants must be Alberta residents.
  9. Each entry must be accompanied by the entry form and the $10 entry fee. (The fee is waived for members in good standing of ALGEHR.)
  10. Entries must be post-marked or courier pick-up stamped no later than midnight,March 31 and sent to the chairperson of the competition (address above)

ADJUDICATION

  1. The Chairperson of the competition, and any individual designated to assist him, is a non-voting person(s) and is the only person(s) to hold identities of the manuscripts and composers.  These will be held in strict confidence throughout and after the competition with the exception of the winners.  His primary functions are to coordinate adjudications, tally them, notify the winners, and other entrants.  He will also be the only person knowing identifications of the complete panel of adjudicators.
  2. The Board members of ALGEHR will appoint 3 or 5 people to the Board of Adjudicators to judge the entries of all classes of the competition.  The selection of the adjudicators will not be made public.
  3. The Chairperson of the competition, assistant if any, and the Board of Adjudicators will be ineligible to submit entries to this competition.

Adjudication Procedure

  1. Adjudicators will receive one copy (unidentified as to composer) of each entry for each category.  Working independently, each adjudicator will rank the entries in numerical order from first choice to last choice.  At each individual adjudicator’s discretion, they may wish to have a choir sight-read manuscripts which are closely ranked.  Any copies that the adjudicator may have made for this purpose will be destroyed immediately after the sight-reading.
  2. Criteria for judgments will be:
  • appeal to both ringers and audience
  • effectiveness of the manuscript as a handbell composition
  • effectiveness of the manuscript in its use of handbell techniques, range of bells, variety of styles/rhythms/meters etc.
  1. The adjudicators will communicate their scores to the Chairperson who will tally the individual manuscript scores.  The entry in each category receiving the lowest total will be declared the winner of that category.
  2. In the case of a tie, or an extremely close score between two or more entries, the Chairperson will declare these entries to be the finalist in that category. He would contact the adjudicators again to assign a ranking score of only those manuscripts which are finalists.  The Chairperson would again tally the manuscript scores and declare a winner.
  3. All manuscripts will be returned to the Chairperson and forwarded to the premiering choirs for performance at Handbell Discovery and there after destroyed, unless alternate arrangements have been made by the composer.
  4. The composer of the winning categories will be congratulated and awarded the prize money.  The entrants will be advised of the results together with any comments made by the adjudicators on their manuscripts.
  5. The Chairperson will advise all entrants of any helpful critiques of the manuscripts and discuss any possible modifications.  The winning composer in each category will be given the permission to indicate that their piece was declared the winner of the competition in that category.
  6. The Chairperson will advise each board member and the composers of the winning entries and keep them apprised of publication such that they in turn may advertise this to their local members.

Handbell Music Levels

Level 1

Meters: 4/4, C (common time), 3/4, and 2/4
Notes and/or Rest Values: whole, dotted-half, quarter
Rhythmic Elements: no subdivision of beats, simple use of ties
Techniques: ring, shoulder damp, Sk, TD, echo, martellato, Sw, RT – all with adequate preparation time
Handbell/Handchime Changes: none (no accidentals)
Articulation: see Techniques
Dynamic Levels: all from pp to ff in homophonic style (all ringing at the same level) with limited use of crescendo or diminuendo
Tempo: slow to moderate

Level 2

All the criteria of Level 1, and
Meters: 2/2, cut time, 3/2, and simple mixed meters of 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4
Notes and/or Rest Values: eighths, the dotted-quarter followed by an eighth, simple combinations of eighths and quarters
Rhythmic Elements: syncopation – simple patterns such as eighth-quarter-eighth, anacrusis – pick-up notes or upbeats and their effect on the final measure
Techniques: table damp, Pl, martellato-lift, malleting, and any combination of two different techniques with adequate preparation time
Handbell/Handchime Changes: limited number of changes per ringer with adequate preparation time
Articulation: see Techniques
Dynamic Levels: crescendo and diminuendo, polyphonic style with simple dynamic contrasts (such as two voices having different dynamic levels)
Tempo: slow to moderate

Level 3

All the criteria of Level 2, and
Meters: 6/8, 3/4 (in one pulse per measure), 3/8, 9/8, 12/8, 6/4
Notes and/or Rest Values: sixteenth, dotted-eighth and sixteenth note patterns, triplet
Rhythmic Elements: syncopation
Techniques: ring and damp sixteenth note patterns
Handbell/Handchime Changes: moderate number of changes per ringer with adequate preparation
Articulation: combinations of techniques listed in Levels 1, 2, and 3, but not more than two per measure
Dynamic Levels: accents, more variety in dynamic levels
Tempo: slow to fast, some changes of tempo within the work

Level 4

All the criteria of Level 3, and
Meters: mixed of 6/8 and 3/4, 5/4
Notes and/or Rest Values: all of previous at faster tempo, triplet over two beats
Rhythmic Elements: syncopation – more complex, using sixteenth-notes and ties
Techniques: Brush Damp
Handbell/Handchime Changes: extensive number of changes per ringer
Articulation: combinations of techniques in eighth-note patterns at moderate tempi
Dynamic Levels: subito piano or subito forte without rest, more complex polyphony with more than two independent voices, more rapid shifts of dynamic levels
Tempo: more changes of tempo within the work

Level 5

All the criteria of Level 4, and
Meters: irregular meters
Notes and/or Rest Values: dotted rhythms in compound meters at fast tempi, duples against triples
Rhythmic Elements: syncopation – more complex, mixed patterns
Techniques: ring-hook-damp sequences, handbell passes at moderate tempi
Handbell/Handchime Changes: unlimited
Articulation: any combination at faster tempi
Dynamic Levels: rapid shifts between levels with no preparation, more frequent use of crescendo and decrescendo
Tempo: more changes of tempo within a work including abrupt shifts

Level 6

All the criteria of Level 5, and
Meters: unlimited
Notes and/or Rest Values: more than four eighth or sixteenth-notes to a pulse (such as five, six, seven, etc.), thirty-second notes
Rhythmic Elements: complex rhythms at any tempo
Techniques: all, any tempo
Handbell/Handchime Changes: unlimited
Articulation: unlimited combinations at any tempo
Dynamic Levels: no limits on shifts (sudden or gradual) or accents
Tempo: only those imposed by the nature of the instrument, complex changes within a work