Submission Tips for Minnesota Varsity
What's new in this year's Minnesota Varsity?
• Each Minnesota Varsity entrant, in every category, is eligible to receive either a voucher good for two tickets to a Minnesota Orchestra concert or two free tickets via online reservation to a Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concert in the 2015-2016 season, while supplies last. While you may make requests, selection of the concert is ultimately on an "as available" basis. The Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra reserve the right to substitute vouchers or tickets for different performances at their discretion. Blackout dates and limitations may apply, as stated on the vouchers, tickets or in related materials.
• We've also changed the instruments that must be featured in the composition category.
Can you provide a quick overview of this year's Minnesota Varsity?
The Minnesota Varsity process will unfold over the next months:
• Young musicians (instrumental and vocal) are invited to enter Minnesota Varsity by submitting their performance recording via an online entry process. (Be sure to read this year's rules first!) MPR staff will review all entries to determine a first round of finalists — between 10-20 "Featured Artists."
• Next, an MPR audio engineer will make professional recordings of the Featured Artists' performances in MPR's Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio and help them sound their best. The recordings will be played on-air on Classical MPR.
• Finally, a panel of judges from Minnesota's classical music and musical theater scene will choose four "Showcase Artists," and an online Audience Vote will choose a fifth, to perform on stage in a live Minnesota Varsity show at the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul on Sunday, May 1, 2016.
• This is the fourth year American Composers Forum is partnering with Classical MPR to adjudicate a Composer category. Young composers are invited to enter Minnesota Varsity by submitting the score of an original composition for male tenor voice, violin, viola, and cello, or any other combination of those instruments including trio, duet, or a work for unaccompanied solo instrument.
What are this year's entry categories?
This year, a Minnesota Varsity Entrant must enter in one of the following categories:
• Instrumental chamber ensemble without conductor (max 8 participants including accompanist) performing Classical Music,
• Instrumental soloist (with or without accompanist) performing Classical Music,
• Vocal Chamber Choir (e.g., Classical/Glee Club/Show Choir) without conductor (max 8 participants including accompanist) performing Classical or Musical Theater, or
• Vocal soloist (with or without accompanist) performing Classical or Musical Theater.
• Composer of an original, complete, and fully notated (no improvisation) musical composition of 3 to 7 minutes in length, scored for male tenor voice and string trio (violin, viola, and cello), or for any duet or trio combination from among those instruments (for example, tenor voice and violin, violin and cello, tenor voice, viola and cello), or for solo tenor voice or for any one of the individual solo instruments. No other instruments, doubling of instruments, electronics, or amplification may be used. For example, trios may not be written for cello and two violins, nor for three violas, nor may duets be written for two tenor voices.
For a composition incorporating voice, the composer may set one of the following texts:
• Summer Stars by Carl Sandburg
• A Boat, Beneath a Sunny Sky by Lewis Carroll
• If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking by Emily Dickinson
• Or, the composer may write vocalise (textless, using syllables like 'ah').
I would like to set my own original text for my composition entry. Will this, or use of any other text not listed in the rules be accepted?
No. The 2016 Minnesota Varsity Rules list four options for texts to be used in the Composition category assignment, namely, three public domain poems OR a wordless vocalise. Original texts will not be accepted, nor will any other text not included in the Official Rules list.
What types of music can be performed?
Classical Music means any music in the tradition of Western sacred and secular music from the 11th century to present times, and is not limited to music from the Classical Period from about 1750 to 1820 (only).
"Musical Theater" means any music in the tradition of theatrical or motion picture music, and is not limited to music from Broadway musicals (only).
How should I select a piece to perform?
Our best advice is to choose a piece that you play well and feel confident about. Keep in mind that entrants who reach the Featured Round play the same work throughout the Minnesota Varsity season, and all Featured Round studio recordings are going be broadcast. If you choose to submit a piece that you haven't mastered or is too virtuosic for your performance ability, your chance of being selected for the Featured Round will diminish. You're judged on the ability you demonstrate in the first recording you submit, not on your potential to have it ready by the time recording sessions begin.
Who is eligible to enter?
Minnesota Varsity is open to classical and musical theater instrumentalists and vocalists, and composers, ages 14-18. Your legal residence must be in Minnesota OR you must legally reside or attend school in a one of the following counties in other states where Minnesota Public Radio's terrestrial broadcasts can be heard:
• North Dakota: Walsh, Grand Forks, Traill, Cass, Richland.
• South Dakota: Roberts, Grant, Deuel, Codington, Brookings, Moody, Minnehaha.
• Iowa: Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Winnebago, Worth, Mitchell, Howard, Winneshiek.
• Wisconsin: Vernon, LaCrosse, Trempealeau, Buffalo, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Dunn, Polk, Burnet, Washburn, Douglas, Bayfield.
• Michigan: Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, Baraga, Marquette.
• Idaho: Blaine.
NOTE: If you have questions about the residence requirement, contact email@example.com for an eligibility evaluation.
If you were a Minnesota Varsity 2015 Showcase Artist, you are not eligible to enter Minnesota Varsity 2016, except as follows:
(a) Showcase ensemble members may enter Minnesota Varsity 2016 as soloists, or members of a different ensemble, but not as members of the same ensemble that was selected as the 2015 Showcase ensemble, and (b) 2015 Showcase soloists may enter Minnesota Varsity 2016 as ensemble members, but not as soloists.
Instrumentalists and vocalists must be currently participating in a public or private school, religious or community music program. Soloists may have an accompanist, but that's not required. If you need an accompanist, you must provide your own (of any age).
How do I submit an entry?
INSTRUMENTALISTS AND VOCALISTS: Submit your completed entry form and your recorded performance online between 9:00 AM CT on September 14, 2015 and 9:00AM CT on December 7, 2015, OR send a CD or DVD and a completed entry form by mail to Minnesota Varsity, 480 Cedar Street, St. Paul MN 55101. Your mailed entry must be postmarked on or before December 7, 2015.
COMPOSERS: Submit your completed entry form, and the fully notated score of one completed composition as a PDF file, online between 9:00 AM CT on September 14, 2015 and 9:00AM CT on December 7, 2015, OR send a printed copy of both by mail to Minnesota Varsity, 480 Cedar Street, St. Paul MN 55101. Your mailed entry must be postmarked on or before December 7, 2015.
How long can my submission be?
INSTRUMENTALISTS AND VOCALISTS: The entire Submission, including the musical performances, may be up to ten (10) minutes in length. If a submission is longer than ten (10) minutes, then only the first ten (10) minutes will be considered.
COMPOSERS: The Submission must be at least three (3) minutes in length, and may be up to seven (7) minutes in length.
What's my region?
In order to help facilitate promotions and sorting of our submissions, we're asking you to identify your location. Within Minnesota, use this regional diagram.
Location is used for promotional and other informational purposes only; it is not used as a judging criteria.
Do I need to have a professional recording prepared for my submission?
Your recording doesn't have to be high-tech or professional. You can use a smart phone to record the performance! Composers, you may submit an audio or video recording, but it is not required.
How will I be judged?
INSTRUMENTALISTS AND VOCALISTS: You will be judged solely on your musical performance based on criteria outlined in the official rules. MPR Classical staff will screen all the entries, and choose no more than 20 performances for the Featured Round. If you are chosen in the Featured Round, you will be recorded by a professional recording engineer who will help you sound your best. That recording will be played for a panel judges from the Minnesota classical music and musical theater world. The judges will choose the best performances for a live show at the Fitzgerald Theater. See the rules for more information.
COMPOSERS: The score of your composition will be screened by a panel selected by American Composers Forum. Up to five composers will be chosen for the Featured Round. If you are chosen for the Featured Round, you will attend a Workshop Day in February with Composer Carol Barnett as your Mentor and a chamber ensemble from the University of Minnesota will perform your composition. A panel of ACF judges will select two Showcase Composers, whose works will be performed by the chamber ensemble at the Fitzgerald Showcase Concert. That performance will be recorded. See the rules for more information.
Can I submit as both as a soloist and an ensemble member?
How many entries can I submit?You can submit one performance as a vocal soloist and one performance as an instrumental soloist, plus you can participate in as many ensembles as you wish. However, each ensemble may submit only one entry (each).
You may submit one composition as a composer.
Also, you may enter in both the INSTRUMENTAL AND VOCAL and the COMPOSITION categories, but you will only be selected in one category if you make it into the Featured Round.
Is the artist statement required?
Yes, but it's only used as background information. You will not be judged upon the content of your statement.
How will my artist statement be used?
We may use it on the air, the web or at the Showcase Concert and in any other materials related to Minnesota Varsity.
How do I write for tenor, violin, viola, and cello?
For advice on writing for these instruments, tutorial videos are available here.
My birthday is coming up soon. Am I too old/young to enter?
Entrants must be between ages 14-18 OR in 9th-12th grade on May 1, 2016. For instance, a 19th birthday occurring prior to May 1, 2016 would not make the entrant ineligible unless he or she had graduated from 12th grade and become a college student. A 14th birthday occurring prior to May 1, 2016 would make the entrant eligible even if the Entrant was 13 when the entry was submitted.
How many entries will be selected in each round?
In the Instrumental/Vocal category, MPR will select:
• No less than ten (10) and no more than twenty (20) Featured Artists, and
• Five (5) Showcase Artists (four by judges and one by online Audience Vote)
In the Composition category, ACF and MPR will select • No less than two (2) and no more than five (5) Featured Composers, and
• Two (2) Showcase Composers
Showcase Round Voting
Public voting in the Showcase Round will be conducted between 9:00 AM CT on March 21, 2016 and 11:59 PM CT on March 27, 2016. The performer with the most votes at the end of that period will win a spot in the Showcase Round, bypassing the esteemed Showcase Round judges.
Members of the public may cast one vote per person per email address. Subsequent votes from the same email address will be disqualified. IN THE SPIRIT OF FAIR PLAY, WE REQUEST THAT VOTERS LIMIT THEMSELVES TO "ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE" REGARDLESS OF ACCESS TO MULTIPLE EMAIL ACCOUNTS OR OTHER METHODS OF IMPACTING THE VOTING PROCESS. See official rules for more information.
What do I win?
Each Minnesota Varsity entrant, in every category, is eligible to receive either a voucher good for two tickets to a Minnesota Orchestra concert or two free tickets via online reservation to a Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concert in the 2015-2016 season, while supplies last. While you may make requests, selection of the concert is ultimately on an "as available" basis. The Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra reserve the right to substitute vouchers or tickets for different performances at their discretion. Blackout dates and limitations may apply, as stated on the vouchers, tickets or in related materials.
If you're chosen as a Featured Artist, you'll get to work with an audio engineer from MPR to produce a professional recording of your performance. Your piece may also be played on the air and the MPR Classical website.
Each of the five Showcase Artists and the two Showcase Composers will receive the following:
INSTRUMENTALISTS AND VOCALISTS: One free recording (on CD) of the MPR-prepared recording of their performance (retail value: approximately $500)
COMPOSERS: One free recording (on CD) of the MPR-prepared recording of their composition (retail value: approximately $500), plus one complimentary yearlong student membership in ACF ($50 value).
NOTE: The prize is awarded as a single prize to the Featured Artist. Except as noted, the prize does not increase if the Featured Artist is an ensemble with multiple members.
What is the purpose of Minnesota Varsity?
The goal of Minnesota Varsity is not to single out the very best musician or composer in the state and its environs. It's to encourage young musicians to make music and to be involved in the process of creation with their peers. Minnesota Varsity helps to bring to the forefront the importance of music and arts education in this state and throughout the nation.
I just can't find the answer to my question. What should I do?
Try reading the rules and this FAQ one more time. Then ask another person to read the rules and this FAQ. We think you'll find the answer. But if you're still stumped, then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.