Young Church Musicians Recital Competition 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018
Faith Presbyterian Church
620 South Shirley Street, Tacoma, Washington

 ACM is hosting separate competitions and separate prizes in two distinct contests: (A) Keyboard: organ and piano, and (B) strings, woodwind, and brass.


The Alliance of Christian Musicians sponsors an annual recital competition for young Christian musicians learning piano, organ, and strings, woodwind, and brass. The recitals have distinct purposes for Division 1 and Divisions 2–4:

Purpose for Division 1

Students in this division (ages 8–10) are honorary participants (non-competitive), specifically selected from audition recordings to play in the same recital as the more advanced students in Division 2 (ages 11–13). The purpose of Division 1 is to provide these young students a formal occasion for:

  • striving for excellence as young Christian musicians,
  • respecting and appreciating one another, and
  • learning to share the gift of music with poise, confidence, and a gracious attitude toward other performers.

Purpose for Divisions 2–4

Students in these divisions (ages 11-19) perform in a recital competition that provides scholarship prizes. The purpose of this competition is to:

  • encourage and enable Christian students to continue their musical education, and thereby
  • promote excellence among young Christian artists as they participate musically in corporate Christian worship and artistic performances, and
  • foster the development of admirable character traits within the context of meaningful, formal competition.


This event is a formal recital where each participant plays a memorized solo and is judged by a professional musician or panel of adjudicators. There are two separate competitions, each with their own prizes: (A) keyboard and organ, and (B) strings, woodwind and brass. Winners of the competitions are awarded scholarships for continuing their musical education, which will be presented as cash to the students’ music teachers. (See “Prizes.”)

Division 1 has no cash scholarship award, but three or more participants will be selected for honorable mention and all participants will receive valuable written feedback by the adjudicator(s) on their individual performances.


This recital is open to Christian students who:

  • are not less than 8 years old and not yet 20 years old on March 17, 2018.
  • profess personal faith in Jesus Christ,
  • participate faithfully in a local church that holds to historic Christian beliefs, and
  • are currently enrolled in a music educational program. Commonly, this means taking regular music lessons from a professional music teacher.


There are four divisions of performance, according to the age of the student on March 17, 2018. There is one honorary division and three competitive divisions:

  1. Ages 8–10 (honorary, non-competitive)
  2. Ages 11–13
  3. Ages 14–16
  4. Ages 17–19

The first division (ages 9–10) is honorary, without cash prizes, giving these participants the opportunity to play in a recital with older and often more advanced musicians.

Application & Audition (due January 20, 2018)

  1. The purpose of the written application is to provide ACM with contact information and ensure that each applicant fits the criteria of being a young Christian who is a regular attender of a Christian church where there is (or could be) opportunity to serve musically in Christian worship.
  2. All applicants or their parents must have an active email address.
  3. All applicants must provide a recorded audition to qualify for participation in the recital. The purpose of the recorded audition is to determine eligibility for the recital.
  4. An audition may be submitted by online video (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), DVD video, or CD-R/DVD-R in a common digital movie format (e.g., mp4, mov, wmv, etc.).
  5. Auditions must contain an unedited video recording of the student performing the selected piece in its entirety, and cannot include the best of several takes (e.g., portions of a complete performance, spliced together – see Audition Requirements).
  6. Auditions must be recorded no earlier than September 1, 2017.
  7. No live auditions will be conducted.
  8. All applications must be submitted online or postmarked by Saturday, January 20, 2018.
  9. The final list of competitors will be announced on February 2, 2018.

Application Fees

Division 1
Application fee is $20. If a Division 1 applicant is not accepted to play in the recital, the entire fee will be refunded.

Divisions 2, 3, 4
Application fee is $35 per student or $125 per household, whichever is less. The entire application fee is due with the audition video recording. If a Division 2–4 applicant is not accepted into the competition $15.00 will be refunded.

Audition Requirements

  1. Length: Audition performance may not exceed 7 minutes (Divisions 1–2) or 8 minutes (Divisions 3–4) in length.
  2. Content: The audition repertoire may be different than what is played at the competition on March 17, 2018.
  3. Memorization: Memorization of the music performed is required for both the audition and competition.

Audition videos will be reviewed by qualified adjudicators. Competitors will be selected based on difficulty of the repertoire, level of preparation, and suitability of the music for demonstrating the student’s musical skills. (See Repertoire.)

2018 Schedule

January 20 – Deadline for all applications, payments and video auditions. Note: Mailed applications must be postmarked no later than January 20. Online registration will be closed after January 20.

February 6 – Final list of competitors published on ACM website.

March 1 – Deadline to confirm music for the recital program (title, composer and length in minutes). Applicants will receive an email reminder to confirm their recital piece.

Day of Event, March 17, 2018
Competition at Faith Presbyterian Church, 620 S Shirley St, Tacoma, Washington.

Mandatory Student Orientations on March 17, 2018 (Conference Room – students who do not attend will not be eligible for a prize).
Orientation Times:                                                      Recital Times:
8:30 AM – Division 3                                                     9:15 AM – Division 3
11:30 PM – Division 4                                                   12:15 PM – Division 4
2:15 PM – Division 1 – 2                                               3:00 PM – Division 1 – 2


  1. Performers are limited to one selection, not to exceed 7 minutes (Divisions 1-2) or 8 minutes (Divisions 3-4) in length.
  2. Students may audition with a different piece than to be played in the competition. However, the audition piece should reflect a similar level of difficulty and skill as the competition piece.
  3. Students may draw from the vast collection of music composed for instruments throughout western music history. This includes art music (“classical”), folk, jazz, hymn arrangements, and other songs written for corporate Christian worship.
  4. Students and their teachers should select music that manifests the student’s highest level of musical skill in all aspects of excellent performance, both artistic and technical.
  5. Memorization of both the audition and the competition piece is required of all competitors.

Note: ACM recognizes that recent trends have replaced classical music repertoire with popular songs as a musical mainstay in Christian corporate worship. Transcriptions of such songs are allowed. However, applicants are advised that these songs may not provide the level of competitiveness needed for a winning performance. Students and teachers are welcomed to express any questions about suitability of repertoire by writing


Prizes will be awarded in each division of each competition as follows:

Division 1* Division 2 Division 3 Division 4
First Prize $150 $200 $300
Second Prize $100 $150 $200
Third Prize $50 $100 $150

* No cash awards for Division 1. Three or more honorable mentions will be selected.

A total of $1,400 in scholarships will be awarded in each of the two separate competitions: (A) keyboard and (B) strings, woodwind, and brass. Prizes will be presented to the winning students’ teachers. Because the competition seeks to promote excellence in musical performance, ACM reserves the right to withhold a prize (first, second, or third) if the adjudicators believe that no performer has earned it. The ACM Board of Directors is the final arbiter of all decisions and awards in this competition.


Our head adjudicator this year is Dr.Oksana Ezhokina. Oksana holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from Stony Brook University. A sought-after teacher, Oksana is Chair of Piano Studies and Associate Professor of Music at Pacific Lutheran University, where she teaches piano as well as academic courses in Piano Pedagogy and Piano Literature.

Read more about Oksana.


Relatives and friends of the performers and other guests are cordially invited to attend the recitals on March 17, 2018. In order to defray the expenses of the recital, donations will be received at the door. Donations to the ACM are considered charitable contributions and are tax-deductible according to the Internal Revenue Service.


For more information, please read Frequently Asked Questions, or contact Elissa Hastings, Executive Assistant.