J. David Moore and Mark Shepperd are winners of annual Welcome Christmas Carol Contest

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (October 21, 2010) – VocalEssence and the American Composers Forum are pleased to announce two local composers as winners of the 13th annual Welcome Christmas Carol Contest. This year, the contest sought new carols for chorus and handbells. Carols composed by J. David Moore (Saint Paul, MN) and Mark Shepperd (Woodbury, MN) were selected from a total of 50 scores received from 22 states. In addition to having their works premiered by VocalEssence at the 2010 Welcome Christmas concerts, each composer will receive a $1,000 prize.

J. David Moore composed a new arrangement of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Moore states, “It is a poem about faith and optimism through times of public and private catastrophe.” The handbell part makes use of a technique unique to the instrument, the “tower swing,” which imitates the swinging of tower bells. It is not meant to be particularly melodic, but evocative of the bells of a valley full of village churches clangorously announcing a day of celebration.


Moore is currently the Director of Music at Nativity Episcopal Church and runs his own publishing company, Fresh Ayre Music. He has written over two hundred arrangements. Moore sang with the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and has founded and directed two ensembles himself: The Village Wytes and Dare to Breath. He has won numerous grants, as well as awards and residencies from ASCAP, the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and the American Composers Forum. Visit his website at: http://www.jdavidmoore.net/


“Come Join Their Song,” composed by Mark Shepperd, depicts the Christmas story from the shepherd’s perspective; a dream of singing before the royal throne. Shepperd explains, “Among my favorite images from the Christmas story have always been the shepherds watching over their flocks by night, the angel-filled skies, and the humble Bethlehem stable. All of these images are folded into this original lyric by Jayne Rasmussen.”


Shepperd currently serves as Minister of Music at Woodbury Lutheran Church. A native of Minnesota, he earned a music degree at Augsburg College and has done graduate study at the University of Minnesota. He is a current reoccurring recipient of the Standard Award from ASCAP, and his composition, Advent Canticle, was awarded first place in the 2003 John Ness Beck Foundation competition.

The new carols for 2010 will be premiered at the VocalEssence Welcome Christmas concerts at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, MN (Dec. 4), Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis (Dec. 5 and 12), Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina, MN (Dec. 10), and Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, MN (Dec. 11). For ticket information, call 612-371-5656 or visit www.vocalessence.org.  


For additional press information, contact Malia Cole, 612-547-1459 or mcole@vocalessence.org.


Previous Contest Winners 1998-2009
2010 Welcome Christmas Carol Contest Guidelines