One way the John Ness Beck Foundation furthers John Beck’s legacy is by awarding cash prizes to composers of traditional sacred choral music which show the most potential for creating the type of music that John Beck valued. In the past, the Foundation gave annual awards to both published and unpublished composers. Recently, the Foundation has narrowed its focus toward unpublished (or self-published) composers, with the goal of nurturing the next generation of church choral music composers.
PRIZE: $1500, plus a tuition scholarship to the John Ness Beck Foundation Choral Composers’ Workshop*. (A second-place cash award may also be awarded, or no award may be given, at the judges’ discretion.) If interested in the current year’s workshop, please apply for the workshop on the Workshop page; all workshop application pieces will automatically be considered for that year’s award.
CRITERIA: Entries are judged on their composer’s demonstrated potential for furthering John Ness Beck / Beckenhorst Press’s tradition of blending artistic integrity with church/ministry functionality.
ENTRY: Composers applying for each year’s Ness Beck Workshop will automatically have their workshop application pieces considered for that year’s award. Composers who are not applying for that year’s workshop, but wish to try to win a scholarship for use in a future year, may also apply directly for the award. Please submit only one piece each year. The deadline for each year’s awards submissions (and workshop applications) is March 31.
Submissions may be uploaded at any time through our Contact Page, or mailed to
The John Ness Beck Foundation
David L. Thomas, Executive Director
1471 State Highway M28 E.
Marquette, Michigan 49855-9523
(No awards given; no workshop this year)
First Place: Andrew Huish, “The First Noel”
Second Place: Brent Reeves, “Sing We Now of Christmas”
First Place: Jonathan Wey, “Unless the Lord Builds The House”
Second Place: Darita Seth, “Whom Shall I Fear”
First Place: Dirk Johnson, “O Bone Jesu”
Second Place: Joshua Sparkman, “I Lay My Sins on Jesus”
2013-2014 (No awards given, as the focus and prizes were being revised to align with the new Workshop)
First Place Published: David Rasbach “Abide With Me”; Beckenhorst Press BP1954
Second Place Published: Allen Pote “Peace I Leave With You; Hinshaw Music HMC2251
First Place Unpublished: Caleb French “The Sands of Time Are Sinking”
Second Place Unpublished: Rachel Steffensmeier “Love Through Me”
First Place Published: Mark Hayes “In the Morning, Joy”; Beckenhorst Press, Inc. BP1883
Second Place Published: Z. Randall Stroope “All Who Dwell in the Shadow of the Lord”; Morning Star Music Publishers MSM-50-2530
First Place Unpublished: Jonathan Reid “When This Passing World Is Done”
Second Place Unpublished: Arron Powel “The Love of God”
First Place Published: Dan Forrest “There Is a Fountain” Soundforth Music 26449
Second Place Published: Mary McDonald “Yes, My Jesus Loves Me” Lorenz 10/3774L
First Place Unpublished: Brian Hanson “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”
Second Place Unpublished: Gerald Harvey “Magnificat”
First Place Published: Molly Ijames “Song of Bethlehem” Beckenhorst Press BP1859
Second Place Published: Dan Forrest “A Cradle Carol” Beckenhorst Press BP1824
First Place Unpublished: Chris Collins “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me”
Second Place Unpublished: Sara Morris “In Heav’nly Love Abiding”
First Place Published: Lloyd Larson “Beautiful Savior” Beckenhorst Press BP1766
Second Place Published: Joan Pinkston “Lord Jesus, Think on Me” Beckenhorst Press JH572
First Place Unpublished: Jess Turner “All This Night”
Second Place Unpublished: David Giardinere “Midnight Clear” Hinshaw Music HMC2117
First Place Published: Howard Helvey “Joshua fit de Battle of Jericho” and “Love Came Down at Christmas”
Second Place Published: Joe Martin “Pieta”
First Place Unpublished: Stephen Main “Wonder Tidings”
Second Place Unpublished: Gregory Kufchak “Still, Still with Thee”
First Place: Dan Forrest “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” Beckenhorst Press
Second Place: John Rutter “Psalm 150” Collegium Music Publications
First Place: Mark Shepperd “Advent Canticle” Beckenhorst Press, Inc.
Second Place: (Tie)
Lloyd Larson “When You Prayed Beneath the Trees” Hope Publishing Co.
Howard Helvey “Ding! Dong! Merrily on High” Beckenhorst Press, Inc.
First Place: Craig Courtney “Peace I Give to You” Beckenhorst Press, Inc.
Second Place: Howard Helvey “Coventry Carol” Beckenhorst Press, Inc.
First Place: K. Lee Scott “So Thou Art to Me” Augsburg Choral Library
Second Place: Alfred Fedak “Christus Paradox” GIA Publications