The Hymn Society – 2021 Hymn Tune Search

As part of The Hymn Society’s ongoing commitment to the enrichment of congregational song, and in anticipation of the 2021 conference, “Singing Welcome?”, the Executive Committee has announced a search for a new hymn tune. The winning entry will be premiered at our 2021 all-digital conference. For this search, six recent Fellows of The Hymn Society have provided a recent text that they have written which addresses themes of welcome and inclusion. Entrants will provide a newly composed tune paired with one of the six designated texts.

This search continues The Hymn Society’s series of hymn searches related to various aspects of the life and witness of people of faith made possible by gifts from Mary Nelson Keithahn, Life Member of The Hymn Society, and the estate of Loryne H. Koebele.

This search is for a new hymn tune for one of the designated texts. Entrants are encouraged to include both a musical score and a recording of a performance of their piece.

A prize of $500 will be offered to the winning entry. The awarding of any prize money is conditional upon the assignment of copyright to The Hymn Society. The winner may choose to decline any prize money and retain copyright without affecting that person’s designation as winner of the search.

All entries are expected to follow the search guidelines and must be received by The Hymn Society by May 15, 2021 in order to be considered. The judges reserve the right not to name a winner in the event that no entry adequately fulfills the criteria of the search.

The winning entry will be presented at this summer’s Annual Conference and will be published in a future issue of The Hymn.


1. The new musical setting may be in either a traditional hymnic style or a contemporary musical idiom.

2. The text is to be chosen from among the six texts on welcome and inclusion provided here, each of which is a published work by a recent Fellow of The Hymn Society.

3. The melody of the tune must be within the singing capabilities of an average congregation.

4. There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted by each composer. Each entry must be accompanied by an entry form and a $7.00 fee in U.S. funds, payable to The Hymn Society.

5. Each entry should include the tune, musical accompaniment, and text. It may be submitted as a lead sheet as long as it includes a notated melody. The text may be interlined or printed separately. The entry should be submitted as a PDF document that can be printed on 8.5” x 11” paper.

6. Engraved manuscripts are not required, but hand-notated manuscripts must be clean and legible. Illegible entries will not be considered.

7. To preserve anonymity, the name of the composer should appear only on the entry form and not on the copies submitted for judging.

8. Entries must be received by May 15, 2021 in order to be considered. All entries will be acknowledged upon receipt.

9. All tune entries must be previously unpublished and should not be simultaneously submitted for consideration in any other contest or for publication. All entries become the property of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada for the duration of the competition (until July 15, 2021).

10. The Hymn Society will offer a prize of $500 for the winning entry. The composer of the winning entry may choose (1) to accept the prize money and assign the copyright to The Hymn Society or (2) to decline the prize money and retain the copyright.

11. The Hymn Society reserves the right not to award a prize in the event that no entry is deemed meritorious.

12. The winning entry will be published in the Autumn 2021 issue of The Hymn.

13. The musical score and text should be sent as an email attachment to The entry form and appropriate fees should be mailed to the following address and postmarked within three days of the email submission:

Hymn Search 2021
The Hymn Society in the US and Canada
5 Thomas Circle NW, 4th floor
Washington, DC 20005-4153