National School Competitions

Applications for National School Competitions are now open. Closing date: 21 January 2022.

Application forms can be submitted either online or by post. Participation in the competition implies acceptance of all the rules and regulations included on this page.

National School Competitions Syllabus

The Cork International Choral Festival highlights the best of choral music in Ireland. While the Festival takes place in dozens of venues across the city, the majority of the competitions take place in Cork’s City Hall, one of the most attractive and acoustically superb venues in Ireland.

The Cork choral experience is unique in Ireland. While participation in competitions raises performance standards, we believe that choirs also benefit hugely by performing, listening to and experiencing different expressions of the choral art. Even at international level, the range of opportunities in Cork is considered special. More and more Irish choirs now extend their stay by also participating in church and informal performances; attending a range of Festival activities throughout the week, including our feature Gala Concerts, Fringe Concerts, Conductors Masterclass, Seminar on New Choral Music; listen to some of the finest international choirs selected to compete for the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy Competition; and attend the weekend Festival Club to meet other participants informally in a convivial social setting.

Section 1: Primary School Choirs
  • No. of Voices: Unlimited
  • Repertoire: Two contrasting pieces, one in unison and one of which must have an Irish text. (A translation from another language is not acceptable). Only one piece may have piano accompaniment.
Section 2: Equal Voice Post-Primary
  • No. of Voices: Unlimited
  • Repertoire: Two contrasting pieces, in three or four parts, one of which must have an Irish text. (A translation from another language is not acceptable). Only one piece may have piano accompaniment
Section 3: Mixed Voice Post-Primary
  • No. of Voices: Unlimited
  • Repertoire: Two contrasting pieces, in three or four parts, one of which must have an Irish text. (A translation from another language is not acceptable). Only one piece may have piano accompaniment

National Competition for Schools Prizes:

1st Prize – Trophy, Certificate + €125
2nd Prize – Certificate + €65

National Competition for Schools Certificates:

Excellence 90%+
Distinction 85% – 89%
Merit 80% – 84%
Participation 70% – 79%

Ireland’s School Choir Of The Festival

The School Choir who receives the highest overall mark in the National Competitions for Schools is designated Ireland’s School Choir of the Festival and awarded The John Cunningham Trophy (See SPECIAL AWARDS).

Closing date for receipt of completed applications is the third Friday of January of each year. All completed application forms and all required numbers of original published scores or certified/licensed legal copies of music must be received by this date. Incomplete applications will not be considered. It is possible to submit an online application form here.

Complete applications include:
1. A completed entry form (online or by post) including the choir’s proposed competition programme, and choir CV of not more than 250 words in digital format (for our Festival Presenters)
2. The required number of original published scores/licensed legal copies of each work. (See RULES & REGULATIONS)
3. Required Entry fee

Post applications to:

The Festival Director
Cork International Choral Festival
Civic Trust House, 50 Pope’s Quay, Cork

It is possible to submit your National Competition entry form and choir CV by email to info@corkchoral.ie. It must be noted however that applications submitted by email act only as provisional entries. Choirs must forward the specified support materials to the Festival Office by the National Competition closing date. Email applications will not be considered if the specified support material is not submitted.

Acceptance of late applications is at the discretion of the Cork International Choral Festival and is not guaranteed. Late entry fees and late music penalty fees, as detailed in this syllabus, will be applied (See RULES & REGULATIONS).

Only original published scores or certified/ licensed legal copies may be submitted with the application. Photocopies are not acceptable.

Choirs may avail of the services of the Festival’s official accompanist. Choirs must request this service on the application form when applying. An accompanist fee of €80 will also apply.

Individual repertoire requirements are described under each competition heading. The adjudicators allocate marks for the technical and artistic quality of the chosen programme and the overall quality of its performance. They will also take into account how well the choir communicates with the audience in a performance situation.

National Open Competitions

30 members or less: €60
31 to 40 members: €70
41 to 50 members: €90
51 to 60 members: €110
61 members or more: €120

Bank Details

Entry fees can be paid by cheque or bank transfer.

Account Holder: Cork International Choral Festival
Bank: Allied Irish Banks plc, Patrick Street, Cork, Ireland
IBAN: IE85 AIBK 9341 5105 1954 48
BIC: AIBKIE2D
Account Number: 05195448
National Sort Code: 93 41 51
NOTE: Please ensure that the name of choir and contact details is noted on bank transfer as narrative

Eligibility To Compete

1. All members of a competing choir, except the conductor, must perform in the Festival as amateurs.

2. No singer may compete as a member of more than one choir in the same competition.

3. Choirs may enter more than one National Competition.

4. No choir may compete at both international and national open level.

Eligibility For Specific Competitions

5. Age limits apply in all National Competitions.

6. National Competitions are open to choirs from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

7. Schools of Music and Stage School choirs are not eligible for the National Competitions for Schools but are encouraged to enter the Youth Choir Competition.

8. a) Any Irish choir may apply to take part in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition.
8. b) The Artistic Advisory Board reserves the right to invite any Irish choir to participate in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition.

Repertoire

9. All competition works must have been composed for a cappella (purely vocal) performance except where expressly stated otherwise.

10. Where a strophic work is chosen (i.e. having the same music for each verse) only two verses may be sung.

11. a) Where three works are required, the total duration must not exceed twelve minutes.
11. b) Where two works/chants are required, the total duration must not exceed 8 minutes.

12. The Adjudicators will penalise choirs whose programmes exceed the prescribed limits.

13. No choir can sing the same pieces in another Festival Competition. This applies to both national and international level.

14. Two consecutive Festivals must elapse before a choir can re-include any piece of music in its national competition repertoire.

15. Subsequent to entry, a choir may not change its repertoire or the order in which it will be sung (i.e. the order listed on the entry form).

Entry Procedure

16. Only original published scores or certi¬fied/licensed legal copies may be submitted with the application. Photocopies are not acceptable.
a) Choirs entering the IRELAND’S CHOIR OF THE YEAR should submit five scores of each work.
b) Choirs entering all National Open Competitions should submit three scores of each work.
c) Choirs entering the National Competitions for Schools should submit two scores of each work.
d) Choirs presenting a Plainchant repertoire in the National Competition for Church Music are required to specify the chants, indicate their sources and include two copies from the relevant volumes.
e) Choirs wishing to avail of the services of the Festival’s official accompanist must submit one
additional original copy at the time of application.
NB: The Festival reserves the right to retain one copy of the music submitted. If you wish to have music scores returned after the Festival, you must include a large, stamped, self-addressed envelope with your entry form. Please include sufficient postage for the package weight.

17. A separate entry form is required for each competition and must be accompanied by the correct fee.

Late Application Penalties

18. In the event that the Artistic Advisory Board accepts a late entry, an additional 50% of the competition fee will be required.

19. In the event of original music not reaching the office by the official closing date, an additional €15 will be levied.

Broadcasting, Recording And Photographic Rights

20. It is a condition of participation that a choir agrees that:
a) Any performance it gives during the Festival may be photographed, broadcast live and/or recorded for subsequent reproduction and/or broadcast on radio/television/internet without payment to the choir. All broadcasting and photographic rights to any performance at the Festival shall belong to the Festival which will be free to dispose of them or utilise them in promotional material as it sees ¬ t. It is the duty of all choirs with members under 18 years of age to ensure that informed consent is sought from young people and their parents/ carers is this regard.
b) Any performance it gives during the Festival may, without payment, be recorded and the Festival shall be entitled to possession of any such recording and shall further be entitled to reproduce any such recording and to sell, let for hire, o er or exposure for sale or hire, distribute or otherwise dispose of any recording or reproduction of recording of any such performance in any manner it sees fit.

General Rules

21. The Artistic Advisory Board reserves the right to limit the number of entries for each competition.

22. The Artistic Advisory Board reserves the right to cancel a competition if it feels that there have been insufficient entries.

23. The Artistic Advisory Board reserves the right to advise a choir to enter an alternative level of competition.

24. The Artistic Advisory Board reserves the right to refuse entry to any competition.

25. Requests for permission to enter competitions other than at the times indicated on the timetable cannot be entertained. The Artistic Advisory Board, nevertheless, reserves the right to alter the timetable in light of the number of entries received.

26. A first prize is awarded only for a mark average of 85%+.

27. A second prize is awarded only for a mark average of 80%+.

28. Adjudicators’ decisions are ¬final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding any aspect of their work.

29. It is contrary to law to perform music that has been reproduced illegally. Should a choir do so, the Festival accepts no responsibility for any action taken by copyright owners.

30. The Festival does not contribute to a choir’s travel costs to/from Cork.

31. A choir withdrawing from a competition is not entitled to a refund of the entry fee.

32. The Festival accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever in respect of anything pertaining to a choir’s participation in the Festival.

33. The Festival reserves the right to change its dates in the event that a concert, or other public event or any circumstance outside the control of the Festival renders it impracticable to hold the festival on the scheduled dates.

34. Participation in the Festival implies acceptance of all the rules and regulations.

35. Any updates will be made on the Application Form found on www.corkchoral.ie and will supersede information in the brochure.

The following timetable is provisional. It may be subject to change depending on number of entries in each competition and Festival’s schedule requirements.

Wednesday of Festival Week
Morning, City Hall: National Competitions for Schools
Afternoon, City Hall: Section 1: Primary School Choirs & Section 3: Mixed Voice Post-Primary

Thursday of Festival Week
Morning, City Hall: National Competitions for Schools
Afternoon, City Hall: Section 2: Equal Voice Post-Primary

Saturday of Festival Week
Morning, City Hall: National Open, and Youth Competitions
Afternoon & Evening, City Hall: Fleischmann International Trophy Competition

Sunday of Festival Week
Morning, City Hall: National Open, Youth Competitions, Ireland’s Choir of the Year
Afternoon, City Hall: National Competition for Light, Jazz & Popular Music
Afternoon, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral: National Competition for Church Music

Schools Competitions

The John Cunningham Trophy

Awarded to winner of Ireland’s School Choir of the Festival.

Sing Ireland Trophy

Special Award for the performance of a work in the National Competitions for Schools.

Irish Federation of Musicians & Associated Professions Trophy

Special Award for the performance of a work in Irish in the National Competitions for Schools.

Choirs in all competitions are actively encouraged to include works by composers born or resident in the island of Ireland.

Choirs are directed to the following resources:

  1. The CMC Choral Catalogues series includes Children’s and Female Voices Repertoire, Mixed Choir Repertoire and Christmas Repertoire. All the works have been selected by specialist curators and graded with a comprehensive set of guidelines. The catalogues can be accessed here:
    • Performer Resources
    • CMC Choral Catalogue, Children’s and Female Voice Repertoire
    • CMC Choral Catalogue, Mixed Voice Repertoire
  2. These graded catalogues are a useful starting point in selecting repertoire, but please note that any choral works held in CMC library are eligible. Sample pages are also available for a selection of choral works at www.cmc.ie/music. In addition Library Coordinator Susan Brodigan will be pleased to assist choirs in their choice. Email: sbrodigan@cmc.ie. Scores may be purchased directly from the Centre or online through the CMC Shop.
  3. Scores featured in the CMC Choral Catalogues are now available for purchase via licensed download via the CMC website. A guide designed to ‘walk you through’ the licensed download process is available on CMC website.
  4. Choirland: An Anthology of Irish Choral Music, is a collection of 15 pieces by Irish composers for unaccompanied mixed choir. Published by the CMC, the collection has been produced in partnership with Sing Ireland and Chamber Choir Ireland (CCI) with funding from The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. Each piece is presented with performance notes designed to aid conductors and singers alike, and the book includes a CD recording of the music by Chamber Choir Ireland conducted by its Artistic Director Paul Hillier. Choirland is available to purchase from CMC’s Online Shop and direct from the Centre.
  5. The Commission Scheme administered by the Arts Council (70 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 618 0200)
  6. The independent commission of new works from Irish composers.

Special Note: Each choir is advised to order music 2-3 months in advance of the National Competition
Application deadline of the third Friday of January of each year. Penalties for the receipt of late music will be strictly adhered to. The Festival is pleased to recommend the following for the purchase of music.

Sing Ireland
Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland
Tel: 061-234823, Web: www.singireland.ie, Email: info@singireland.ie

The Contemporary Music Centre
19 Fishamble Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 6731922 • Fax: 01 6489100
Web: www.cmc.ie • Email: info@cmc.ie

Opus II
Web: www.opus2.ie • Email: sales@opus2.ie

Pro Musica
20 Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork
Tel: 021 4271659 • Fax: 021 4273780
Web: www.promusica.ie • Email: info@promusica.ie

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