BBC Radio 3 asks amateur composers to write a tune to a Christina Rossetti poem for this year’s Breakfast Christmas Carol Competition

Amateur composers writing across any musical style have been called upon to take part in this year's Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition

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The BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition is back, with music lovers and amateur composers asked to set the words of Christina Rossetti’s Love Came Down At Christmas for a brand-new Christmas carol.

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For the second year running, composers from all musical styles have been invited to take part. Composers can deliver their carols as notated scores or voice recordings. The only barrier to entry is that any composer taking part must be over the age of 16. The panel won’t be given any additional information about the nature of each applicant, besides the tune itself.

Organist, conductor and broadcaster Anna Lapwood will chair this year’s panel of judges, which includes The Kingdom Choir founder Karen Gibson; priest, musician and journalist Reverend Richard Coles; jazz singer Jumoké Fashola; and BBC Sport commentator Alison Mitchell.

Last year’s winner was James Walton from Preston, a Religious Education teacher and father of five. The competition saw three times as many applicants than in previous years.

The six shortlisted entries will be decided by the judging panel, at which point the public will step in. The six shortlisted composers will work with composer and choral director Ken Burton to work on their carols, arranging them for choir. The completed carols will then be performed live on BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast programme by the BBC Singers on Wednesday 15 December, when the public will vote for their favourites. Voting will then close on Tuesday 21 December, before the winner is announced the following day.

‘The Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition facilitates that process for so many people from across the UK, and it was so exciting to see the number of carol competition entrants triple last year,’ says jury chair Anna Lapwood. ‘Having had Christmas music disrupted for the past two years, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is the year when we can return to hearty carol singing once more!’.

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To find out more about how to apply for this year’s BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition, click here.