TCDA would like to congratulate Braeden Ayres on the selection of his composition “A Life Well Lived” as the winning composition of the 1st annual Emily Crocker Emerging Composer Competition.

We would like to extend special thanks to Emily Crocker and Hal Leonard for their sponsorship of this competition, as well as Laura Farnell and Victor Johnson for their service as adjudicators in this process.

“A Life Well Lived” will be premiered at our annual Summer Convention on Saturday, July 24th during the Advanced MS/JH Developing HS Choirs Reading Session.

Congrats, Braeden!

Click to view this publication on Hal Leonard’s website

“A Life Well Lived” is the first publication in the Emily Crocker Emerging Composers Series. The piece uses the Edgar Albert Guest poem, “Compensation,” to consider what we would like to be able to say about our lives, looking back in old age. The melody has a familiar folk song sound similar to those heard in Ireland and Scotland. The addition of a penny whistle or flute enhances the warm, comfortable tone of the piece.


For More Information on this Competition, see details below


The TCDA Emily Crocker Emerging Composer Competition is designed to encourage young composers of choral music for the middle school ensemble. 


Composers must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a current TCDA member (including out of state residents)
  • Must agree to relinquish publishing rights to Hal Leonard (with appropriate royalty contracts, etc).
  • Must submit a $25 application fee per submission.

Compositions should adhere to the following requirements:

  • Compositions should be suitable for performance by middle school (grades 7 & 8) Mixed, Treble, or Tenor-Bass ensembles with appropriate consideration given to vocal range, tessitura, and compositional complexity for this age group.
  • Voicing should be SATB, SSA, or TTB with limited or no divisi. 
  • Compositions must be original. Source material for arrangements should be limited to music within the public domain. 
  • Submissions should not have been previously published.
  • Text must be in the public domain unless the composer possesses written consent from the copyright holder to make use of the source material. 
  • Compositions may be accompanied or unaccompanied. Unaccompanied works should include a piano reduction in the score.
  • Compositions between two and four minutes in length will receive priority consideration.


All submissions should be entered online at by December 31, 2020. Scores should be submitted in pdf format with the composer’s name removed. Text with translation (if applicable) and proper permissions (if applicable) must be submitted with the score. A recording may be submitted but is not required. 


Compositions will be evaluated by a committee and approved by the TCDA Board of Directors. The TCDA Board reserves the right not to name a winner if the adjudication panel does not recommend an entry for the award. 

2021 Adjudicators

Emily Crocker, chair
Victor Johnson
Laura Farnell


The winning composer will receive:

  • $750 cash prize.
  • Featured at the 2021 TCDA Convention.
  • One night of hotel accommodation in San Antonio to attend the premiere during the Summer Convention.
  • Opportunity for publication through Hal Leonard pending editorial and publisher approval.