BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition - Mon 22 Sep 2014

On 28 August BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast launched a carol competition, where budding composers have the opportunity to write a new Christmas carol to the words of a specially written poem by Susan Hill, Can It Be True?

The competition is open to composers aged over 16, who haven’t already had a composition published by a professional publishing company. There are full terms and conditions below.

A full Press Release is below, and further information is available on the website


BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast show launches Christmas carol competition with specially written poem by Susan Hill
Master of the Queen’s Music and Associate Composer BBC Singers, Judith Weir to be on judging panel for carol competition
BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 to broadcast Choir of the Year
BBC Radio 3’s The Choir to stage an event to mark global choral peace project; One Day One Choir
BBC Singers celebrate their 90th birthday with four-hour takeover of BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 today [Thursday 28 August] announces the launch of a nation-wide Christmas carol competition alongside a raft of Autumnal choral initiatives, including a global choral project launching on UN Peace Day 21st September 2014, a Mary Poppins sing-along and BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four coverage of Choir of the Year 2014.

BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast Carol Competition launches today, as listeners are challenged to compose a brand new Christmas Carol to be performed by the BBC Singers live on BBC Radio 3. Setting the words of a specially commissioned poem from acclaimed author Susan Hill, entries can be written in any style, but must be either a cappella or with a piano accompaniment. Six carols will be shortlisted by a panel including the Master of the Queen’s Music and Associate Composer with the BBC Singers, Judith Weir, and Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers, David Hill.

The shortlisted carols will be performed live on the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast show on Tuesday 16 December by the BBC Singers, this year celebrating their 90th birthday, before listeners will be asked to vote for their favourite work. The carol receiving the largest number of votes will be performed again live on the Breakfast show on Tuesday 23 December and played on Christmas day on BBC Radio 3.

For more details visit

By Susan Hill

Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Twelve of the clock
Twelve of the clock.

The message was heard
On the wind, underground.
Through wires, in dreams

Heard by the fox slinking up to the hens
In the dark
And the wolf prowling near to the sheep,
By the dog as it snarled at
The cat as it sniffed for the mouse
In a hole in the wall of the house.

Heard by the owl with blood on its beak
And the shrew in the ditch.
Heard by the weasel, the ferret, the stoat,
The terrified rabbit
And the whale and the whaler above in his boat.

Christmas Eve
And twelve chimed the clock when the message was heard.
‘And can it be true ?’
Said the fox to the hen to the wolf to the sheep to the dog to the cat to the mouse to the owl to the shrew.
‘And can it be true ?’
They said to the weasel and ferret and stoat
And the whale to the man in his boat.
‘And can it be true ?’
‘Come and see for yourself.’
So they went.
The fox with the hen with the wolf with the sheep with the dog with the cat with the mouse with the owl with the weasel and ferret and stoat.
And the whale towed the boat.

Christmas Eve
Twelve of the o`clock
When they came to the stable and saw.
‘It is true ! It is true !’
And knelt down.

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