Last Choir Singing Song Writing Contest 2018/19
The Last Choir Singing Song Writing Contest 2018-2019 is reaching its final stages.
We had more entries than we’ve ever had before. All the entries have been shortlisted to 6 songs by a panel of expert judges.
There is a cash prize of £500 for the winner plus the chance to watch their song being performed by all our choir finalists in the Last Choir Singing Choir Competition on 21st June 2019 plus all attendant publicity.
The songs were performed live on BBC Radio Lancashire on Thursday 22nd November by Duncan Heather and are now awaiting your vote. The winner will be announced live on air on Tuesday 4th December.
Vote for your favourite song!
The voting for the Last Choir Song Competition is now closed.
|Friday 30th November||Deadline for public voting 12 noon|
|Monday 4th December||Winner announced on BBC Radio Lancashire. The 3 songwriters whose songs have the most votes may be interviewed on the John Gillmore show|
|Friday 21st June 2019||Performance of the winning song by all the finalists of the Last Choir Singing choir competition at King George’s Hall, Blackburn|
There is no age limit to the song contest and anyone can enter. Exceptions are specified in the Rules and Regulations.
Please ensure that you read the Rules and Regulations carefully before entering the competition. By entering, you agree to these Rules and Regulations.
For information on writing your song, please refer to our song writing guidelines.
Shortlisted songs performed by Duncan Heather
We are absolutely delighted to introduce you to our Compère, Duncan Heather. Duncan was with us from the beginning and has become very much a part of the Last Choir Singing.
Duncan has a beautiful tenor voice and will, once again, be singing for us on stage. He is also performing the shortlisted songs in our song writing contest on BBC Radio Lancashire in November.
Our Songwriting Contest Judges
Duncan’s passion for performance started at a young age. He was born and raised in Salisbury on the south coast of England. It was here that he was classically trained in musical theatre and classical vocal technique. In his teens, he was a member of a 50 strong Pop/Rock choir, performing all over the south of England as a Featured Lead Vocalist.
From that moment on, he has been lucky enough to never stop working professionally. He has performed all over the world in musical theatre, covering all genres of song, from London’s West End to Lead Tenor in ‘The Spirit Of Broadway at the ‘legendary ‘Via Funchal’ Theatre in Brazil.
Throughout his career, Duncan has worked as a Soloist, creating and producing his own productions and Theatre shows and, also, as part of a larger cast in International Arenas and UK Theatres, gracing the same stages as Des O Connor, Joe Longthorne and Brian Blessed, to name a few.
Duncan experienced one of his greatest achievements on stage back in 2009. He was requested to perform at ‘The Sporting Club’ in Monte Carlo, performing for an audience including the Prince Of Monaco and Dame Shirley Bassey.
Duncan went on to play Frankie Valli in the Rock and Roll musical ‘Twist and Shout’ in Atlantic City, USA. Performed as one of ‘The 12 Tenors’ on a sell out International tour and cruised the world as a featured vocalist for Celebrity Cruise lines.
In 2012 Duncan was asked to perform alongside Jonathan Ansell of G4 fame, in a memorable and emotional performance in Istanbul for the remembrance of the many victims of the Earthquake that hit Turkey in 2011.
He toured the UK and Europe with the new Queen production ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to critical acclaim, alongside some of the West End and Broadway’s biggest musical theatre stars and has just finished starring in the Frankie Valli musical ‘New Jersey Nights’ on a full UK tour.
Now Duncan is a new Father and family man, he has been focussing on his solo show, performing at many national corporate events and headlining onto cruise ships as a guest entertainer. All through this, Duncan is busy creating some original compositions and material for future release.
Duncan has been very supportive of us from the start and we are thrilled to have him on board. Passionate about music education, Duncan offers singing tuition to schools. He has a beautiful tenor voice. To hear him sing, please go to his website, https://www.slamdunkents.com/theteam and click on the Featured Video on the Home page.
Steve Balsamo is a singer-songwriter from Swansea, Wales. After years of learning the ropes in local rock bands, he shot to prominence in 1997 after playing Jesus to great critical acclaim in the West End revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. After winning a Variety Club Award for the role, Steve decided to return to his first love – writing and performing his own music – and signed to Columbia Records soon after. In 2002, Steve released his debut album – All I Am – which reached the top 40 in the UK. He then went on to win Best Male Solo Artist at The Welsh Music Awards the same year.
Gentle ‘persuasion’ by the head of the label saw Steve return to the stage in the French phenomena Notre Dame De Paris, which was followed by Poe – More Tales Of Mystery and Imagination, a new musical by Alan Parsons Project writer, Eric Woolfson. Based on the life and work of Edgar Alan Poe, the show had its world premiere at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in 2003, and features the powerful song ‘Immortal’.
In 2004, Steve formed The Storys, a West Coast influenced harmony country-rock band, with Andy Collins, Rob Thompson and Dai Smith. The band’s highly acclaimed self-titled debut album, released in 2006, came to the attention of Elton John who, after publicly declaring it “Fantastic!”, personally called Steve at home and invited the band to tour Europe with him – twice! The Storys have also toured and played with the likes of Joe Cocker, Katie Melua, Celine Dion, Santana, Runrig, Daniel Lanois, Van Morrison and Tom Jones to name-drop but a few.
The Storys’ songs have been featured in the US teen drama One Tree Hill and hit Brit-flick The Bank Job , in which the band also made a cameo appearance playing two of their own songs. They released their second album – Town Beyond The Trees – in the UK in 2008, again to great reviews. Although calling time on The Storys, the band released a third and final album called Luck in the summer of 2010.
As a side project, Steve also formed a progressive experimental rock project with Rob Reed (Magenta) and Rob Thompson (The Storys) called ChimpanA. The resulting CD also featured Sam Brown, Tony Dallas, Christina Booth (Magenta), Margo Buchanan, Bluei, Nigel Hopkins, Andrew Griffiths and Sian Cothi. The musical influences were Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Bjork and Massive Attack.
Steve also formed a trio, Oystermouth, with Rob Thompson and Andy Collins of The Storys, creating a sound that is a modern twist along the lines of Simon & Garfunkel in the those hazy, folky, seminal days of the late 60s/early 70s.
After meeting Jon Lord, founder, writer and ex-keyboard player with Deep Purple at The Sunflower Jam in 2007, Steve was asked if he would like to tour with him. A huge fan of Jon, his solo work and Purple, Steve feels very privileged to have worked with such a legend and genuinely nice man. Until Jon’s recent death, he and Steve were writing and recording for an album project.
Aside from this, Steve is a prolific songwriter, having scored hits in Europe and Australia with artists as diverse as Meat Loaf, Anthony Callea, Jonatan Cerrada, and Slash of Guns n’ Roses fame.
Recently he has been writing songs with beautiful, ethereal-voiced folk/country singer, Rosalie Deighton and Julian Wilson of Grand Drive, for a duet project originally titled Balsamo/Deighton and they have released a stunning new video and a new version of the Shawn Colvin song “I Don’t Know Why”, also available for download as a single. He has also been working with a Welsh classical crossover singer, Annelies, on an exciting new project.
Steve feels blessed to have had many adventures in music which have allowed him to sing on stage with the likes of Roger Daltry, Robert Plant, Mario Frangoulis, Justin Hayward, Lara Fabian, Madeleine Peyroux, Glenn Hughes, Steve Harley, Lulu, a couple of Stones, a couple of Eagles, a couple of Floyds and some of the best players on the planet!
When he’s not making music, Steve tries to be a good dad, paints, swims, reads, listens to Radio 4 and thinks too much.
Since the early 1980s, Chris Eaton has developed a profile as one of Britain’s classic songwriters. His unique brand of ‘white soul’ song writing has made him a favourite of the world’s pop aristocracy. SIR CLIFF RICHARD has led the pack, recording more than 20 of Chris’ songs since 1981, and taking ‘Saviour’s Day’ to No. 1 in the UK singles chart over Christmas 1990. ‘Saviour’s Day’ has now become a Christmas ‘standard’ and has been recorded by a growing number of artists.
In 2003, Chris has various songs on Cliff’s Christmas ‘Greatest Hits’ which went to # 9 in the UK charts, including Cliff’s # 5 Christmas single “Santa’s List”. Continuing this 20-year association, Chris co-wrote 4 songs for Sir Cliff’s Nashville album, “Something’s Goin’ On”, released in 2004, and penned the classic Cliff track ‘Golden’ to commemorate 50 years in the business.
Chris has also enjoyed a special working relationship with US superstar, AMY GRANT – since Amy first recorded his song ‘Little Town’, he has played and/or had his songs performed, on most of her major recordings. Including ‘Hats’ on the Multi-platinum album ‘Heart In Motion’ and two songs on her No 2 pop album ‘Home For Christmas’. ‘Breath Of Heaven’ from this album was voted US CCM song of the year in 1994 in Billboard. Amy recorded ‘Christmas Lullaby’ and ‘A Christmas To Remember’ for her 2000 release ‘A Christmas Album’. In 2003 Amy’s album ‘Simple Things’ included a song she co-wrote with Chris ‘Out In The Open’. Another Grant/Eaton co-write “Third World Woman” featured on Amy’s 2010 album ‘Somewhere Down The Road’. Chris has also toured with Amy as her keyboard player.
“Breath Of Heaven” was also included on JESSICA SIMPSON’S 2004 platinum-selling Christmas album, “Rejoice”. The song has also been recorded by US country superstar VINCE GILL as title track of his 1998 album, which reached No. 5 in the US Country chart. Other notable mainstream artists to cover Chris’ songs include JANET JACKSON with “Hold Back The Tears”; SHEENA EASTON with “All I Ask” and “Dance Away The Blues”; PATTI AUSTIN – “Stars In Our Eyes” on MCA/GRP ; DONNA SUMMER – “Breath Of Heaven”; MICHAEL BALL – “All For Nothing”; ROCH VOISINE – “Dance With A Stranger”; and, COLIN BLUNSTONE – “Everlasting Love” and “What Is Love”. EMI / Electrola artist CLAUDIA JUNG covered “Saviour’s Day” in a duet with CLIFF RICHARD on her Christmas album. Also in 1997 GROVER WASHINGTON JNR. recorded “Breath Of Heaven” as title track for his Christmas album (Columbia Records). Warner US act, BONEY JAMES has recorded an instrumental version of “Breath Of Heaven”. Sony Spain artist, MONICA NARANJO has recorded a Spanish language version of “Live For You” on her 2002 album.
Chris has had an incredible run of No.1 radio hits in the US in the huge Contemporary Christian music market over the past two decades. Artists such as JACI VELASQUEZ (‘Flower In The Rain’), WAYNE WATSON (‘Be In Her Eyes’), Chris’ own EMI/Sparrow single ‘Everlasting Love’, SUSAN ASHTON (‘Body and Soul’) and, 4 HIM (‘Lay It All On The Line’). In October 1998 Jaci Velasquez’ recording of Chris’ song ‘God So Loved The World’ went to No. 1 across every Christian radio format. Jaci performed this song to open the 1998 DOVE AWARDS, which were televised nationally in the U.S. The song was nominated in the Best Song and Best Record categories of the 1999 Dove Awards in the U.S. Jaci’s 2001 Christmas album includes ‘The Angel Song’.
Chris had five songs on the debut smash hit RACHAEL LAMPA album ‘Live For You’ on Word records. The title track and first single off this album (written by Chris Eaton and Chris Rodriguez) shot straight to No.1 in Billboard’s contemporary Christian singles chart. Rachael recorded ‘No Greater Love’ (co-written with Margaret Becker) for her 2002 album ‘Kaleidoscope’. ‘No Greater love’ was No. 1 at CCM radio, also released to US pop radio. Chris has had songs recorded by other major US CCM acts as POINT OF GRACE (‘When Love Came Down’), MARGARET BECKER (‘Friend For Life’, ‘What Kind Of Love’), SHEILA WALSH (‘That’s What Faith Is For’) and AVALON (‘Hide My Soul’). Chris also co-wrote two songs, ‘River Of Life'(performed by REBECCA ST JAMES) and, ‘Heaven And Earth’ (performed by NICOLE NORDEMAN) for the ‘HEAVEN & EARTH’ project on Sparrow Records.
In October 2002, Chris won an unprecedented (for a single non-US writer) 3 BMI US airplay awards for “Live For You”, co-written with Chris Rodriguez and recorded by RACHAEL LAMPA; ‘Adore’ recorded by JACI VELASQUEZ; and, ‘Lift Me Up’ recorded by Rachel Lampa.
In that same year, Chris joined forces with his two long-standing business associates, Valerie Jannsen and Stuart Ongley in a co-publishing venture, based in Nashville. The fruits of this collaboration include a # 1 US CCM single; 2 tracks on the million- selling WOW compilation; a BMI award; 4 co-writes on the aforementioned Cliff Richard album, “Something’s Goin’ On”; “Golden” being chosen by SIR CLIFF RICHARD as the theme for his 2009 50th anniversary World Tour; a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall; songs recorded by Pop Idol finalist, CHRIS SLIGH; SELAH; CECE WINANS, AMY GRANT and BUILDING 429; an Eaton co-write, “All For You” on country superstar KEITH URBAN’S 2010 album, ‘Get Closer’; Universal recording artist MARY-JESS recorded 2 songs co-written with Chris on her 2011 album ‘Shine’; 2012 Christmas radio hit with “Thinking about you (This Christmas)” a song Chris wrote with the artist, PAUL CARRACK; and, 2014 Top 5 chart action in Japan with “Dream You Back” by W-INDS.
2014 saw Chris working on two musicals, either side of the Atlantic – ‘Blue Christmas’, a brand new mini musical written with Allison Allen in the USA, and ‘The Snow Queen’ written with Sue Pomeroy in the UK. Chris produced a Christmas project for the amazing Uk female artist, Mary-Jess. Chris’s latest Christmas hit is “1914, A Silent Night” commemorating WW1.
2015 has begun with a bang where many of Chris’s brand new arrangements of old hymn classics are flowing freely through the worship world, and Chris, who writes constantly for specific worship projects for his local church, is developing his teaching side, leading seminars on songwriting/ worship leadership etc.
From 2015,Chris, along with his wife Abby, have teamed up with ‘la creme de la crème’, total lifestyle brand, ‘Temple Spa’, who specialise in luxury 5 star skin care product. They are working together to create an exciting, innovative music programme to enhance temple Spa product.
Chris is currently producing a record for the acclaimed ‘pop-opera’ male vocalist, USA’s David Ask. There are also plans afoot for Chris to write the music score for a brand new independent movie due for 2018 release in the UK.
Yorkshire born Margaret Foxley started singing at a young age, performing Mendelssohn’s Elijah at the age of eight in a local choir at Ickornshaw Chapel.
As a student, Margaret performed in a number of musical theatre productions. After qualifying as a teacher of the deaf, Margaret taught in schools in Banbury and Bradford before joining Bradford Health, training health professionals and establishing one of the country’s first Peer Education projects for young people. In 1997 she joined Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (QEGS) in Blackburn to set up and head their Complementary Studies department, concerned primarily with health and life skills.
Margaret sang for many years as an Alto with KVU Singers. Since 2009 Margaret has been an ambassador for restorative justice, often appearing on radio and TV. She set up and chairs the first restorative justice panel for Lancashire and is a Pendle Borough councillor.
In 2010 Margaret and husband, Paul set up the Jessica Foxley Music Projects in memory of their musically talented daughter who was killed in a car crash the previous year. The Music Projects provide outstanding creative composer and performance opportunities for young musicians from all over the UK through a variety of initiatives.
- Lyrics must be appropriate for primary school children.
- A comfortable singing range for children falls generally between C4 (middle C) and E5 (so just over an octave). Notes slightly below and above can be sung and, of course, everyone’s range differs somewhat, but this is a reasonable range to use when writing a song for children. The teachers will be able to add harmonies suitable to the range of the children within their choir. Each choir will be allowed to interpret the song in any way they choose.
- All the choirs in the Last Choir Singing Final will have to sing the song. That will be approximately 10 – 12 renditions of the song that the audience will listen to. Therefore, the song should be something upbeat with a good melody and rousing chorus, which is pleasant and interesting to listen to.
- Please do not write different parts and harmonies for a choir as each choir will interpret your song in its own way. However, it should be a song that a choir can improvise and play about with.
- If you are writing a seasonal song, remember that the song is going to be sung at the Grand Final in June. For example, although we will consider a Christmas song, as some are very general and can be sung at any time of the year, if it is too specific, it is unlikely to be shortlisted.
- Think about the message of the song; e.g. is there a moral to it or is it nonsensical? Both have their place.
- The quality of the song should be the same when you are writing for children as it would be if you were writing for adults.
- Think about the arrangement of the song. Is the tune interesting? Does it contain surprises? Does the song have a hook? If it has a message, how do you set that up and then reinforce it? Is the song memorable and easy to learn? Does it build or does it ebb and flow?
- Songs are not limited to any particular style. Children’s choirs sing all sorts of different types of songs, from religious to pop, from ballads to rock, and everything in between.
The key is to enjoy the creative process, trust your instincts and do not be afraid to keep refining it until you are happy with it.
Rules and Regulations
- All entrants must be resident in the UK. There are no limitations on age and the song contest is open to both adults and children.
- Entry to the song contest is free.
- The song contest is not open to employees of True Bearing Limited, Pennine Wealth Solutions LLP, Bread and Butter Advice Ltd, Jones Harris Financial Planners Ltd, BBC Radio Lancashire, the Songwriting contest judges, anyone directly involved in the organisation of the Songwriting contest or of the Last Choir Singing choir competition, or members of the immediate families of any of the above.
- Please make sure that all songs entered are your own composition and that you own all rights to them and that they do not infringe any copyright or any other rights of third parties. Should you breach any copyright or ownership rights, you will be fully responsible for the breach. True Bearing Limited will bear no responsibility or liability for any such breach.
- In the case of a song with multiple co-writers, all co-writers’ names should be entered on the online application form, but the first name on the form will count as the entrant. Please enter only one email address and telephone number. These will be the email address and telephone number that we will use in any correspondence with you. Please ensure that you have written permission from all writers or anyone who controls any rights to the song to enter the songs into the contest. As in Point 4, should you breach any copyright or ownership rights, you will be fully responsible for the breach. True Bearing Limited will bear no responsibility or liability for any such breach.
- Each entrant may enter a maximum of 3 songs into the contest but each song must be entered separately.
- All songs entered must be unpublished and must not have been entered into the previous Last Choir Singing Song Contests. By unpublished, we mean no publishing contract with a third party.
- Entry to the song contest is via the Last Choir Singing website and is a simple 2-stage process. Fill in the required fields on the website, with your name, contact details, lyrics of the song, etc. and submit the details as requested. Following your submission, you will receive an automatic email containing details of how to submit your song recording. All songs entered into the contest must be submitted in MP3 format, with a maximum size of 10MB. This is well above the size that you will need. Songs can be submitted either as a vocal with an accompaniment or as a vocal only. Please ensure all submitted recordings are playing correctly before submitting them. If we cannot play a recording, or if the recording does not include a vocal, the entry will be deemed to be void. Please do not send entries by post.
- There must be no information included on the recordings apart from the song title. They must not contain information about the songwriter. The information submitted on the application form will not be seen by the judges. The judges will only have access to the song recordings and lyrics that you submit.
- No changes are to be made to song entries or to entrants’ details after submission without agreement by the song contest organisers. This includes changes to song title, category, writer’s name, audio file, written lyrics and any other changes including the email contact address.
- Songs will be judged based on composition and suitability for children’s choirs. The quality of performance, vocals and production will not be a consideration.
- Each song entered must be no more than 4 minutes 30 seconds in length. Any song that is longer than this will automatically be deemed void.
- The prize is non-transferable. In the case of co-writers, the prize will be awarded to the entrant (the first name on the application form) and fair division and distribution of the prize among the writers is the responsibility of the entrant.
- It is the entrant’s responsibility to ensure that all contact details given on the application form are correct. All email addresses provided must be able to receive emails. True Bearing Limited will bear no responsibility or liability for emails that are undelivered due to incorrect email addresses, spam blocking systems, over the limit email accounts, or for emails not being read by the entrant. Once you have entered, the organisers will contact you mainly via the email address that you put on the application. We may, on occasion, need to contact you by the telephone number you put on the application. If, at any point, you wish us to stop contacting you or wish to remove your song from the contest before the shortlist has been chosen, you may do so by contacting us on .
- True Bearing Limited accepts no responsibility for entries that are not received or that are lost or delayed.
- If you are under the age of 16, the contact details you provide must be the name of a parent or legal guardian. You must ensure that you have permission of that person to enter the competition. True Bearing Limited accepts no responsibility or liability if you have not received this permission. If True Bearing Limited becomes aware that this permission has not been received, your entry will become invalidated.
- True Bearing Ltd. will hold your contact details on our secure server purely for the purpose of this competition. If you are shortlisted, your contact details may be passed to BBC Radio Lancashire for the purpose of contacting you regarding radio interviews. We will not pass your details to any other third party companies or send you details of products from other providers. Once the competition is over, we will retain your details for marketing purposes in relation to the Last Choir Singing competition and nothing else.
- The entry deadline is specified on the Last Choir Singing website. Entries received after the deadline will be void.
- The judges will choose a shortlist of song entries. The judges’ decisions are final and binding.
- The winning song will be chosen by the public from the choice of shortlisted songs. The public vote is final and binding. In the unusual event of a draw, the final vote will revert back to the judges who will decide the winner from whichever songs are included in the draw. Their decision is final and binding.
- An acoustic version of the song will be performed by tenor, Duncan Heather, and will be broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire on 22nd November 2018. This may be live or it may be pre-recorded. By entering a song into the contest, you agree to this. As this is a necessary part of the voting process, no copyright payments will be made to the songwriter(s) and there will be no financial recompense given to the songwriter for such performances and/or broadcasts. Entry into the contest confirms your acceptance of this.
- Following these performances, the public will be able to vote for the winning song via the Last Choir Singing website. The deadline for public voting will be specified on the Last Choir Singing website. Only one vote per person is allowed. Votes received after the deadline will not be counted.
- The performances will be filmed. The films, and audios, will be put onto Youtube and on the Last Choir Singing website so that people can watch and listen to them and vote. The songs, or excerpts of the songs, may be played again on the radio during the voting period to remind listeners of the songs. As this is a necessary part of the voting process, no copyright payments will be made to the songwriter(s) and there will be no financial recompense given to the songwriter(s) for the use of the films and the songs in this way. Entry into the contest confirms your acceptance of this.
- No individual critiques of entered songs will be supplied to entrants.
- Entry into the Last Choir Singing Songwriting Contest constitutes permission for True Bearing Limited to use the names, likenesses and voices of the winners and runners-up, and recordings, both audio and visual, of the winning songs, for promotional and publicity purposes on the Last Choir Singing website and on other third party websites, social media, radio and television, in publicity and promotional materials and in press releases without True Bearing Limited or anyone involved with the song contest incurring any copyright or ownership fees.
- Entrants retain full song ownership rights and all copyrights to all songs submitted. Entering the contest does not in any way affect your ownership of your songs but, by entering into the song contest, you allow us to use your song for the duration of the contest, including copyright on any recording or performance of it, either by yourself or anyone we have asked to record it for us, for contest and promotional purposes as mentioned in these Rules and Regulations, without True Bearing Limited or anyone involved with the song contest incurring any copyright or ownership fees.
- Shortlisted entrants will be informed by email and may be interviewed on BBC Radio Lancashire’s John Gillmore show during the broadcast of the shortlisted songs.
- The winner will be announced live on BBC Radio Lancashire on the afternoon of 4th December 2018. The 3 songwriters with the highest votes may be interviewed again on air. BBC Radio Lancashire may replay your song, whether in part or in full, on air, as part of your interview. This will be the acoustic version sung by Duncan Heather.
- The winning song will be recorded as a backing track and will be used as the set song for the school choirs to sing in the Last Choir Singing Final at King George’s Hall on the 21st June 2019. The choirs will be offered the choice to use the backing track or provide their own accompaniment. They will be allowed to interpret the song in any way they choose. No copyright fees or financial recompense shall be received by the songwriter(s) for these recordings or performances above and beyond the venue’s usual payment to the Performing Rights Society.
- True Bearing Limited reserves the right to make no award and have no shortlisted or winning entries should none of the entries be deemed suitable or of a high enough quality by the judges. The decision of the judges is final.
- True Bearing Limited is not liable for any damage, loss or any other claim to any person or property relating to participation in the song contest.
- True Bearing Limited reserves the right to amend these Rules and Regulations at any time.
- By participating in the contest, entrants agree to be bound by these rules and by any subsequent published revisions of these rules and by the decisions of True Bearing Limited, which are final in all matters relating to the contest.