Welcome to the Cape Breton Chorale website!

50 years

The Cape Breton Chorale has been thrilling audiences since its formation fifty years ago. The Chorale has given more than 200 performances throughout the Maritimes, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

The Chorale has shared the stage with a variety of musical stars, ranging from Celine Dion to Rita MacNeil and has performed before numerous visiting dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II.


Song Arrangement Competition



Cape Breton Chorale Song Arrangement Competition


As part of the approaching 2024-2025 concert season, the Cape Breton Chorale invites composer/arrangers to submit SATB arrangements of popular songs to a Song Arrangement Competition. The deadline for submission is September 9, 2024, and the winning arrangement will be performed in November of 2024.


Prize Amount: $1,500


About the Cape Breton Chorale

The Cape Breton Chorale has been an important choral ensemble in Nova Scotia since 1973, when Sr. Rita Clare (1933-2017) founded the choir. The choir has championed and premiered well-known SATB choral arrangements of Cape Breton songs including Song for the Mira, We Rise Again and others. For more information on our choir history and to hear our recordings, go to www.capebretonchorale.com.


Eligibility and Writing Guidelines

This competition is open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and landed immigrants. Submissions must not be previously commissioned, performed, or published.



The Cape Breton Chorale reports all performances to SOCAN, paying fees for performance rights of registered material. Arrangers are responsible for securing permission to arrange from the songwriter or publisher if the song is not in public domain. Here is a self-publishing option: www.arrangeme.com.



The submission must be an arrangement of an existing song from any of the following categories: folk song/singer-songwriter, Billboard hit, B-side, Brill Building, Canadian song, Great American Songbook, musical, film soundtrack, obscure gem; songs with interesting stories, harmony, or form elements are ideal. Carefully tailored mashups are possible contenders. Original songs written by applicants will also be considered provided they follow a distinguishable variation of a popular song format.


Clichéd or ‘overdone’ songs are discouraged unless parodied or significantly restructured. If a song has been previously arranged for choir several times (e.g. Bohemian Rhapsody, When I Fall in Love), please consider choosing something else. We encourage an individual creative approach to choral writing that suits our ensemble. Treatments presenting changes to compositional style, performance style, rhythm/meter/feel, or offering reharmonization are welcome.

Song Lyric Considerations

Candidates should choose songs with lyrics carrying a theme that may tell a story; and/or may be philosophical, romantic, celebrational, universal, poetic, or humorous; and otherwise can be suitable for a multi-generational adult choir.


Length, Instrumentation, and Voicing

  • Submissions should be 3-5 minutes in length.

  • While there may be some a cappella sections, a notated piano accompaniment should be included.

  • Solo(s) for soprano, alto, tenor, and/or baritone may be included.

  • Voicing is for SATB choir (40-50 singers).

  • Soprano and Alto parts may include various divisi: SSA, SAA, SSAA.

  • An additional instrument part may be included.


Score Preparation

  • Scores must be presented using notation software and sent in pdf file format.

  • Parts should be laid out in open score, with accompaniment set below the vocal parts, and chord symbols above the piano staff. Closed score may be used for sections with homophonic textures.

  • Instrument part(s), if applicable, should be placed above the vocal parts in concert key. A separate instrument part in the correct instrument transposition must also be included.


Submission Instructions

There is no entry fee for this competition. Submit files on or before September 9, 2024.


Include the applicant’s name, contact information, and song title in the subject and body of the email.

Only the song title should be included as part of the attached files.


Example: Look for the Silver Lining.2024.pdf


The adjudication panel will see the anonymous scores. Composer identity will remain hidden from the panel until after the selection has been made. Submit the score, any applicable instrument part, and/or text sheet of the completed arrangement in PDF file format via email to the address included below. Include a letter of permission for use of the song, or the license at the bottom of the first page of the score, if applicable.


The inclusion of a notation software demo recording (mp3 or wav format) is appreciated but not required.


Please submit files to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Selection, Performance

The submissions will be adjudicated by a panel from the Cape Breton Chorale organization.

The Chorale Artistic Director will then contact the winning arranger by phone/email on or before September 16, 2024.


A live performance of the winning arrangement will take place on Saturday, November 2, 2024, in Sydney, Nova Scotia.