Female Vocal Solo
Male Vocal Solo
Small Vocal Ensemble
Large Vocal Ensemble
Instrumental Brass Solo
Instrumental Woodwind Solo
Instrumental String Solo
Instrumental Percussion Solo
Small Instrumental Ensemble
Large Instrumental Ensemble
Sacred Piano Solo
Classical Piano Solo
Sacred Piano Duet
Classical Piano Duet
Sacred Multiple Keyboards
Classical Multiple Keyboards
Recorder Solo (Elem. only)
Hymnplaying (Sr./Jr. only)
Composition – Original (Sr./Jr. only)l
Composition – Arranged (Sr./Jr. only)
Instrumental String Solo (Non-Orchestral)
*Please Note – In choosing selections to perform, please keep in mind that this is a Fine Arts Performance. The selections should be challenging! In judging participants to represent CHEWV, the difficulty of the selection will be a consideration. It is also strongly suggested that when entering the piano solo categories, that the student has TWO selections prepared – one for the classical category and one for the sacred category. Piano solo categories are highly contested and having a prepared selection in both categories will give the student a greater chance that at least one could be selected for the festival. The student may indicate their preference on the registration form.
General Rules: Since the guidelines and rules on this page are meant as an overview, once there is interest in a category it is necessary to read the exact requirements in the AACS Manual. There may be specific rules that need to be followed.
- No Percussion instruments will be permitted in small instrumental ensembles. This rule applies to Category 10; Category 25 will use percussion.
- No electronically amplified musical instruments except the organ will be permissible.
- All sound equipment will be provided and supervised by the host school and its designated aides.
- Only live piano accompaniment will be permissible for all music categories which need accompaniment.
- All selections must be memorized except those under Categories 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27. Categories 28 & 29 do not apply. If not memorized, evaluation will not take place, and participants will be automatically disqualified.
- Vocal and instrumental selections will be from the following types of music: sacred, spirituals, patriotic, folk, semi-classical, or classical. The term ―classical‖ will not be limited to denote music from that period of history, but will apply to selections of a classical nature as opposed to those of popular music. Piano and organ selections must be sacred or classical according to the rules of the category. Folk music is the body of literature that identifies with a culture or a country in the form of ballads, religious songs, work songs, cowboy songs, patriotic and political songs, and love songs. Many such folk songs have been taught by one generation to another generation and may not bear any composer identification. However, no protest songs, songs of any subversive cultural movement, or modern pop-related folk songs of any type are permissible. Semi-classical music is that which is like classical music in form, style, and quality, but is generally less complex in nature and has a more immediate appeal. For the purposes of the National Competition, it shall be limited to music written and/or composed before 1950. Discretion should be used in selecting semi-classical music for competition. It must meet high standards of quality in both words and music.
- No rock style, gospel country, jazz, or music in like vein will be permitted. A ―night club‖ sound, crooning or ―contemporary‖ sound is not acceptable. Participants are to avoid contemporary movie themes, though the music itself may be acceptable, and are not to use songs produced and/or popularized by current pop or rock stars even though the song itself may be acceptable.
- No choreography, planned or unnecessary bodily movement (hand clapping, foot stomping, deaf signing, finger snapping, etc.
- Medleys are permitted
- The WVCEA Competition Director, with counsel from the music panels, will have the authority to disqualify any student or group on the basis of performance or selection.
- Contestants (except Band/Orchestra contestants) will need one original copy of each selection of music performed for a judges‘ copy. Exception: Band/Orchestra competitors must bring three (3) original pieces for judges. Copies made with the publisher‘s written approval are acceptable. If the contestant(s) or accompanist will be using music for any performance, those copies will also need to be original copies. (See Music, pp. 15-16.) Failure to follow this requirement will result in disqualification. (If the selection is a free PDF download, then documentation that identifies it as a free PDF file or some identification of the provider will be accepted.)
- Three copies of music (original, not photocopied) must be submitted to the judges at the time of competition.
- Percussion instruments are only allowed in the large instrumental ensemble, orchestra/band, handbell/handchime ensemble or handbell/handchime choir.
- The contestant must number at least every fifth (5th) measure on the music given to judges. Numbers must be very clear and legible. Numbers may be written in pencil. Judges are instructed NOT to mark on music. Failure to clearly number at least every 5th measure will result in an automatic penalty of three (3) points per selection.
- The same selection cannot be performed in two consecutive years.
- Instrumentalists may tune their instruments with the piano before performing.
- Warm-up rooms will be available throughout the day.
- Personal arrangements and deviations from printed music should be clearly marked on the judges’ copies or disqualification will result after the performance is finished.
- The name of the participant, title and composer/arranger of the selection shall be announced prior to performing. Timing will then begin.
- For all handbell competition, schools will be required to provide all equipment (bells, pads, etc.) except tables.
- No competitors except organists are permitted to use page turners; accompanists may use a page turner.
- Refer to specific rules for each category for questions about entrants’ qualifications.
Point Deductions for Elem/Jr. High only
Music not memorized when applicable – Comments only/no rating
No original Music present- 5 points
All measures not numbered- 4 points
(Note: If no measures are numbered, disqualification. However, on this level, it would be reasonable to give the music to the student and have them number them, and then judge them at a later time.)
Any deviations from music not noted on music – 4 points
Selection of Music
Any music may be sent for approval at any time ahead of the Fine Arts Competition. Music that is pre-approved will not be disqualified for inappropriateness on the days of Competition. If you plan to have music pre-approved, it would be advantageous to do so early enough so rehearsal time will not be lost on a poor selection.
Selections will be Sacred, Spirituals, Folk, Patriotic, Classical or Semi-Classical in nature. Vocal soloists who are required to do two pieces shall perform one sacred (or Spiritual) and one classical (Semi-Classical, Patriotic, or Folk are also acceptable) or art song selection. The second selection may be sacred, but must be of classical/art song nature.
The sacred selection should be appropriate for a church service, having a clear message with a high standard but without a showy style. While the sacred selection should demonstrate a high degree of control, its primary purpose is to minister and to show the contestant’s ability to communicate a sacred text for the glory of God. It is possible that the classical selection could also be sacred (example: “Why Do the Nations Rage?” from Handel’s Messiah.)
The classical selection would include music from Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, etc., or an art song. The purpose of the classical piece is to demonstrate the contestant’s mastery of the instrument or voice. Those younger contestants performing only one selection should choose a piece from any category above that best demonstrates their mastery of the instrument or voice.
Since the guidelines and rules on this page are meant as an overview, once there is interest in a category it is necessary to read the exact requirements in the AACS Manual. There may be specific rules that need to be followed.
Category 1: Female Vocal Solo – Memorized, two selections within ten minutes. One selection should be sacred and in English. The other selection should be classical in a foreign language. Only one vocal solo required for Jr. High and Elementary in 5 min. Piano accompaniment required.
Category 2: Male Vocal Solo – Memorized, two selections within ten minutes. One selection should be sacred and in English. The other selection should be classical in a foreign language. Only one vocal solo required for Jr. High and Elementary in 5 min. Piano Accompaniment required.
Category 3: Small Vocal Ensemble – 2 to 6 voices, piano accompaniment, not directed, within 8 minutes.
Category 4: Large Vocal Ensemble – 7 to 12 voices, piano accompaniment, may be directed, within 8 minutes.
Category 5: Choral Group – 13 to 24 members, two numbers within 15 minutes, may be directed.
Category 6: Instrumental Brass Solo- one memorized selection within 8 minutes. May be performed with or without written music. A minute deduction is applied if performed with music.
Category 7: Instrumental Woodwind Solo – one memorized selection within 8 minutes. May be performed with or without written music. A minute deduction is applied if performed with music.
Category 8: Instrumental String Solo – one memorized selection within 8 minutes. May be performed with or without written music. A minute deduction is applied if performed with music.
Category 9: Instrumental Percussion Solo – One selection or medley within 8 minutes. An instrumental percussion solo must be a solo or concert etude. It must be from ―standard concert literature‖ and must conform to the General Rules for Music. Since much of this literature is un-accompanied, an accompaniment is optional. This category does not have to be memorized. The solo must fit one of the following categories: a. Snare Drum Solo b. Timpani Solo c. Mallet Percussion: any instrument with notes arranged in piano keyboard fashion including, but not limited to orchestra bells (or glockenspiel), xylophone, marimba, or vibraphone d. Multiple Percussion: Multiple percussion has no standard set of instruments, but often has a combination of snare drums, concert toms, and small instruments such as triangle, wood blocks, or cymbals. . No electronic devices are permitted. No drum sets are permitted.
Category 10: Small Instrumental Ensemble – 2 to 6 instruments, piano accompaniment, not directed, within 8 minutes.
Category 11: Large Instrumental Ensemble – 7 to 12 instruments, piano accompaniment, may be directed, within 8 minutes.
Category 12: Orchestra/Band – 13 or more musicians, two numbers within 15 minutes, may be directed.
Category 13: Sacred Piano – one memorized selection within 8 minutes.
Category 14: Classical Piano – one memorized selection within 8 minutes.
It is also strongly suggested that when entering the piano solo categories, that the student has TWO selections prepared – one for the classical category and one for the sacred category. Piano solo categories are highly contested and having a prepared selection in both categories will give the student a greater chance of being selected for the festival. The student may indicate their preference on the registration form.
Category 15: Handbell/Handchime Ensemble – 2 to 6 musicians, directed, one selection within 8 minutes. Memorization not required.
Category 16: Handbell/Handchime Choir – 7 or more musicians, two numbers within 15 minutes, may be directed.
Category 17: Sacred Piano Duet – one selection within 8 minutes. One piano/two pianists. Memorization not required.
Category 18: Classical Piano Duet – one selection within 8 minutes. One piano/two pianists. Memorization not required.
Category 19: Organ Solo (Sacred or Classical) – one selection within 8 minutes. Memorization not required.
Category 20: Youth Choir – a youth choir consists of 25 or more singers. It may be directed. Will perform two numbers within 15 minutes. At least one selection must be sacred and in English.
Category 21: Sacred Multiple Keyboards – one selection or medley within 8 minutes. Two or more students playing two or more keyboards. Only sacred music is acceptable. Memorization not required.
Category 22: Classical Multiple Keyboards – one selection or medley within 8 minutes. Two or more students playing two or more keyboards. Only classical music is acceptable. Memorization not required.
Category 23: Handbell Solo – one selection or medley within 8 minutes. Memorization not required.
Category 24: Percussion Ensemble – 2 or more musicians, one selection or medley within 8 minutes, may be directed. Memorization not required.
Category 25: Recorder Solo – Elementary only, one selection or medley within 8 minutes. Memorization required.
Category 26: Hymnplaying – Contestants will perform two selections from the list of six hymn tunes below. The first selection is the contestant’s choice and he/she will play that hymn without a song leader. The second selection will be the judge’s choice from the list of the six hymn tunes; this selection will be directed by a seasoned song leader designated by the WVCEA Fine Arts Office. The judges will observe the contestant performing under the direction of the song leader. Contestants may play from the hymnbook of their choice; however, they must provide two identical hymnbooks for the judges in case the harmonization is different. Memory is not required. The performance will be judged according to standard rules of hymnplaying; i.e., chord structure and chord progression, theory rules, harmonization rules, and appropriateness of style used for congregational singing. Both selections must be played with an introduction. The WVCEA determines the hymns each year using the “Rejoice” hymnal from Majesty Music. Selections must be played from this hymnal.
#9 – Come, Thou Almighty King *JH Selection
#15 – Across The Lands
#43 – Rejoice the Lord is King (with modulation)
#59 – The Trees of the Field
#70 – Thine Be The Glory *JH Selection
#409 – As The Deer *JH Selection
#22 – O Magnify the Lord
#119 – Great Is Thy Faithfulness (with modulation)
#184 – The Bible Stands *JH Selection
#323 – Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
#353 – Victory in Jesus *JH Selection
#549 – Like a River Glorious *JH Selection
#111 – And Can It Be *JH Selection
#239 – In Christ Alone *JH Selection
#381 – Blessed Assurance
#412 – A Passion For Thee
#529 – It Is Well With My Soul (with modulation)
#680 – Rejoice In The Lord *JH Selection
#11 – I Sing The Mighty Power Of God *JH Selection
#27 – O Worship The King *JH Selection
#46 – All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name
#349 – Complete In Thee *JH Selection
#383 – The Solid Rock (with modulation)
#617 – I’ll Fly Away
#32 – Crown Him With Many Crowns (with modulation)
#122 – Grace Greater Than Our Sin *JH Selection
#290 – The Power Of The Cross
#309 – There Is A Fountain *JH Selection
#525 – All That Thrills My Soul *JH Selection
#599 – Before The Throne Of God Above
Category 27: Composition – Original – Every musical portion of the composition must be original (an existing test or poem may be used). The composition may be for any medium. The composition must have been composed since the previous year’s WVCEA Competition. The composition must be performed at the WVCEA Competition. (The performer(s) will not be the object of adjudication; only the composition will be judged.) You may pre-record the performance on a CD. The composition will be judged according to standard rules of composition; i.e. part-writing rules, theory rules, instrumental and vocal ranges, chord structure and progression, appropriateness for the performance genre intended. The composition must be one of the acceptable styles of music listed in the general music rules. Submit your composition manuscript in the mailing deadline with the academic tests.
Category 28: Composition – Arranged – An existing melody and harmonization may be used. The arrangement may be for any medium. The arrangement must have been created since the previous year’s WVCEA Competition. The arrangement must be performed at the WVCEA Competition. (The performer(s) will not be the object of adjudication; only the arrangement will be judged.) You may pre-record the performance on a CD. The arrangement will be judged according to standard rules of composition; i.e. part-writing rules, theory rules, instrumental and vocal ranges, chord structure and progression, appropriateness for the performance genre intended. The arrangement must be one of the acceptable styles of music listed in the general music rules. Submit your arrangement manuscript in the mailing deadline with the academic tests.
Category 29: Instrumental String Solo (Non-Orchestral)
- This category is for string instruments other than violin, viola, cello, string bass and harp. Guitars, banjos, ukuleles and other non-orchestral instruments may enter.
- Instruments may be bowed, strummed, plucked or performed in an appropriate way for the instrument. (Note: strumming a few chords repetitively is not competition worthy.)
- Memory is not required.
- Students will perform one selection or medley within 8 minutes.
- Performance may be per printed music or improvisational in nature; if improvised, notate details for the judges so they can follow the general plan. Music (actual or base structure) must be presented to the judges for performance.
Example: In the Hymnplaying category (which is improvisational in nature) the judges have the actual hymn in hand but listen carefully for improvisational skills. It is not necessary to write down every note that may be a part of the improvised performance.