John Ness Beck, co-founder of Beckenhorst Press, established the John Ness Beck Foundation in 1987, only a few months before he passed away from cancer. The Foundation was established in memory of Randall Thompson and Joseph Clokey and is tax exempt. It recognizes outstanding achievement in choral composition and arrangement of traditional church music, enhances and furthers the careers, study, education and experience of promising composers and arrangers, and promotes and stimulates the learning of choral composition and traditional church music.
John Beck’s desire was simple: to encourage and promote the writing of traditional sacred music. The Foundation has sought to honor this goal in several ways. For several years, scholarships were awarded to students from the Westminster Choir College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who exhibited promise in the writing of sacred choral music. Additionally, the Foundation has regularly awarded cash prizes to composers of traditional sacred choral music which exemplifies the type of writing that John Beck valued.
The Foundation continues to award cash prizes and scholarships to unpublished composers of traditional sacred choral music, and encourages unpublished composers to submit their pieces for consideration. For more information, please see the Awards page.
In 2014, the Foundation began a new Choral Composers’ Workshop, aimed at providing intensive instruction for a select group of composers of church choral music, taught by Craig Courtney, Dan Forrest, and Howard Helvey. Workshops have now been held in the greater Washington DC area, Columbus OH, and, in 2016, Newport Beach CA. The annual winner of the Foundation’s Award is given a tuition scholarship to the workshop. For more information, please see the Workshop page and/or the Awards page.
The members of the John Ness Beck Foundation Board of Directors are Craig Courtney, Jeff Hamm, and David Thomas.