What Past Participants Are Saying…

“…I learned more about writing music in those three days than I had in the past several years.”

“…a pivotal point in my compositional career.”

“…a warm and safe environment; …highly recommended for anyone who is serious about writing sacred choral music.”

“…completely changed me as a composer…improved my skill set, increased my confidence, and fueled my motivation.”

“…one of the most productive weeks of my creative life…”

“I had the strong sense that [Dan, Craig, and Howard] were investing in me, and that their desire to develop my talent was sincere.”

“…hands-down, the best professional development investment that I have ever made…”

2022 Choral Composers’ Workshop


NOTE: Summer 2021 will be private mentoring sessions by invitation only.

We hope to resume regular workshops with open applications in 2022!

(Past participants, please see our private Facebook group for more information, or contact Dan Forrest.)



2020 Workshop (Greenville, SC) was “Next Level” training for workshop alumni to develop further.

2019 Choral Composers’ Workshop was held in Greenville, South Carolina, June 24-27

REMINDER: the winner of the John Ness Beck Foundation Award (awarded each spring) will receive FREE TUITION to the workshop, as well as a cash prize. All workshop application pieces will automatically be considered for the award, so workshop applicants do not need to enter the contest separately.

Faculty: Dan Forrest and Howard Helvey. (Craig Courtney has a prior schedule commitment that prevents him from being at the workshop this summer.)
Dates: June 24-27, 2019
Location: First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Washington St., Greenville, SC, 29601

The John Ness Beck Foundation offers an annual workshop designed to further the art of church choral music, with the goal of furthering John Ness Beck’s vision of excellence in church choral music. The workshop will include a variety of learning formats, including master classes (discussing students’ recent works and works-in-progress), open Q/A times, presentations by our teachers of some of their own music (from a creative-process and marketability perspective), open discussion times regarding creative process, melody, accompaniments, text and text-setting, musical form/development, musical style, market/industry aspects of publishing, and more. A couple small homework assignments will also provide opportunity for meaningful discussion.  The workshop will include much opportunity for learning, but will not be overly taxing; attendees should come away creatively refreshed, not exhausted. The teaching will focus on excellence in church choral music, in general; our faculty publish with a variety of publishers, in a variety of styles/genres of church music (as well as concert music). The workshop will also, admittedly, offer some specific perspectives from Beckenhorst Press.

The 2019 workshop will include extra discussion of the current state of publishing and self-publishing, extra time on notation guidelines/workflow/efficiency, and extra time on the business side of composing including commission fees, reducing taxes, etc.

Enrollment: Approximately 8-12 (composer) applicants will be accepted, to allow maximum personal interaction between participants and instructors. Dan and Howard will be in residence for the entire length of the workshop. (A small number of attendees from prior years usually audit the workshop the workshop as well, but do not get pieces reviewed; interested previous attendees, please contact Dan for details .)

Tuition Cost: $750.

Attendees will also need to make their own arrangements for travel, accommodations, and meals:
Travel: If flying, GSP airport (recommended) is approximately 20 minutes away.
Hotels: Aloft Hotel, across the street from First Presbyterian Church, has provided a workshop rate of $149 per night; details will be given to attendees. Other hotels are available within walking distance, as well; and those with vehicles can find cheaper hotels outside of the downtown area, if desired.)
Meals: Numerous restaurants are within reasonable walking distance. The workshop begins and ends with group dinners at no charge to attendees. The opening dinner (Monday evening) will serve as a time of introductions/orientation, and the closing dinner (Thursday evening, at Dan Forrest’s home) will serve as a final celebration. All other meals are attendees’ financial responsibility: lunches are eaten communally in nearby restaurants with small group discussions between attendees and faculty, and dinners are on your own.
Cost-sharing: We will facilitate communication between attendees in advance, to carpool for rides to/from airport, etc., and/or share cost of hotel rooms or rental cars, if desired.

Applications are online only; please use the form below. Application deadline: March 31, 2019. 
For your two pieces, please submit recent works that best reflect your choral writing; we recommend that at least one of them be church music. Acceptance decisions announced shortly thereafter, no later than April 15. Once accepted, attendees must pay the entire workshop fee ($750) in full by May 15, to ensure that all spots are filled.

    Please fill out all the following fields. All information is required.

    Your Name

    Your Mailing Address

    Your Email

    Your Phone Number (1231231234 or 123-123-1234)

    What do you see as your musical/compositional strengths?

    What do you see as your musical/compositional weaknesses?

    What are your current goals as a choral composer, and in what ways do you believe this workshop would help you meet those goals?

    Please include the following attachments:

    A biographical sketch (up to one page, outlining your past musical experience/training and your current musical endeavors)

    A works list (including, at least, the pieces you have written in the last 3-5 years; include performance information if pertinent, and publisher names, if published).

    Two recent choral compositions (PDFs preferred)

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