St Luke's Annual Carol Competition

So, you think you can do better than John Rutter?! If so, read on.

The prize:

The winning entry will be performed by St Luke's choir at the Christmas Carol Service in December.

How to enter:

The competition is now closed!

When composing your winning entry, here are a few regulations:

  • All entries must use the prescribed text. Any entries setting other words, no matter how beautiful, will not be considered. You can download the text from this link.
  • The deadline for receipt of entry is (currently unannounced).
  • It should last between 30 seconds and 5 minutes.
  • All entries must be computer printed or handwritten clearly in black ink (legible and not bigger than A4 size paper) and unbound.
  • Entries should be for unaccompanied choir, or choir and piano, or choir and organ (divisi and solo lines are allowed, but within reason).

The composer should provide a description of the work and its background, suitable for programme notes. Composers should not put their name on the score or programme notes but include a separate cover sheet with their details (full name, choir, telephone number, and email address).

All entries should be submitted to Isabel Sinagola either in a sealed envelope in her pigeon hole in St Luke's, or sent to the church office (St Luke's Church, Sydney Street, London, SW3 6NH) marked "For Attention of Isabel Sinagola, St Luke's Choir". Entries will not be returned so the composer should keep a copy for their own records.

It may be possible to submit electronic copies in some cases. If you would like to do this then please contact us using the Contact form on this website and we will provide you with a direct email address, but please don't leave this until the last minute in case of technical difficulties.

There will be a shortlisting process by Jeremy and those selected will be presented to and rehearsed by St Luke's choir. The choir will then vote for what they consider to be a worthy winner. The composers will remain anonymous to Jeremy and the choir until a winning carol has been chosen.

Previous years:


The winning entry, "On the Night You Were Born", was composed by Billie Hylton to words by Helly Summerly. It was performed during the carol concert on 22nd December 2019.


The winning entry, Star Carol, was written by George Rose to words by Katie Baum. George's simple but beautiful composition evokes the styles of Lauridsen and Whitacre and will be premiêred on Sunday 16th December at 18:30.


Yet again Dennis Cook triumphed with his composition setting words from Colin Frayn's winning lyrics, "How Can I Know That Love?".


Dennis Cook grabbed a second victory with his double-choir carol written to the words of poet Barry Webb, which were chosen as the set-text for all of this year's entries.


The winning carol, written by Lucia Carini, to the text "A Spotless Rose", was performed during the carol service on 20th December 2016.This gently lilting carol is utterly beguiling and had the St Luke's congregation spellbound at its first performance. Lucia herself sang the ethereal Soprano solo - after all, who else would have agreed to do so with Lucia looking on from within the Soprano line?


The 2014 competition was won by Jonathan Wikeley of All Saints Fulham with his beautiful unaccompanied Carol, "Rocking", which was performed in our Carol Concert on 21st December 2014. Given the two beautiful versions published on pages 2 & 3 of Carols for Choirs I, it was a brave move to tackle those well-known anonymous words, but Wikeley's setting is a stunner. The highly-commended runner up was George Rose from St Luke's with his 8-voice unaccompanied carol "What Child Is This?". (Spoiler: It's Jesus).


The inaugural competition in 2013 was won by Dennis Cook with his carol 'Under the Stars'. Here was what Jeremy had to say:

"It's like 1979 all over again. Nobody admits to having voted for Thatcher. And in Chelsea 2013, nobody admits to having voted for Cook. Even Dennis 'voted for the other guy'. Anyway, will someone make sure that DC doesn't win again? Not least because - in unguarded moments over the last fortnight - 'Under the Stars' has wormed its way into my ear-space, and sometimes it has taken me far too long to calculate the provenance of this audio nasty."

Lizzie Coxhead's 2013 entry ('Un Enfant Nouveau-Né') subsequently opened the 2014 Epiphany Carol Service at Queen's College, Oxford. As a direct result of her carol being heard in performance in a summer (!) concert in Oxford, Lizzie was commissioned to write a Christmas carol for Magdalen College School later in 2014.


If you have any questions, then please contact us directly, or using the Contact form on this website.

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