LGBTQMusic

One Voice Chorus Announces New Competition for LGBTQIA+ Composers

Winner receives $2,000 commission and feature performance

One Voice Chorus perform as a past event
One Voice Chorus performs during the summer 2023 production of ‘Match Game: Queer Icons.’ (Photo courtesy of One Voice Chorus)

One Voice Chorus of Charlotte (OVC) this week announced the launch of their first Queer Composers Commission Competition, an initiative to elevate the voices of queer composers and promote their work.

The competition winner will receive a $2,000 commission and create a 4-to-6-minute soprano, alto, tenor and bass choral work that OVC will premiere in December 2025.

“We’re incredibly excited to present a forum that will magnify the voices and creativity of compositional artists in the queer community,” said Matthew Barbour, OVC board president, in a release announcing the contest.

Interested applicants are asked to submit two existing works of any type to be considered for the competition. The works can come from the past seven years, and live recordings are preferred over synthesized works.

OVC will accept submissions from June 1 to Nov. 1. Composers must identify as members of the queer community to submit their work.

“As a LGBTQIA+ chorus, we always look to include works by composers from the queer-affirming community,” said Cory Davis, artistic director at OVC who thought up the competition. “A few years ago, I began to realize just how few published composers there are from many areas of our community. With this competition, we really want to offer an opportunity for these talented but underrepresented voices to be amplified.”

One Voice Chorus will announce the competition winner on Dec. 1. If the winner accepts the prize, they will have six months to compose their new work, which will then premiere six months after that during OVC’s 36th season. 

OVC is currently wrapping up its 34th season, with the final show, Match Game: From Rags to Riches, scheduled to take place at the Charlotte Ballet on June 21 at 8 p.m. and June 22 at 7:30 p.m. 

“We couldn’t think of a better time to announce this unique opportunity than as we begin Pride Month and near the final show of our 34th season,” said OVC Executive Director Micah Deer. “One Voice Chorus’ presence continues to grow within the local and national choral music communities, and we truly hope that this competition will offer a previously unheard compositional artist a launching point for their career.”

One Voice Chorus began in Charlotte in 1990 as one of the first gay-affirming choruses in the southern United States. At the time of its creation, many singers were hesitant to include their legal names in the chorus out of fear of persecution.

A group of 25 singers at its first rehearsal in 1990, OVC has grown to more than 70 singers, support members and paid musical staff. It is still among the few co-ed organizations in the national LGBTQIA+ choral scene. The group does not require auditions and welcomes all to join

“Season 34 has been hugely successful,” said Davis. “We’re looking forward to using that momentum to make an even bigger difference in our community with the Queer Composers Commission Competition.”

Read more: Paula Cole Set to Headline Charlotte Pride Festival in August


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