The contest will expand the Christmas songbook while engaging young adult Catholics in the season.
A new contest launched by the Vatican seeks to engage young adult Catholics in the Christmas season, while simultaneously expanding the Christmas songbook. Called the Christmas Contest, the competition will see solo performers and musical groups compose original Christmas music, which will be analyzed by a panel of music industry professionals.
According to the Christmas Contest’s website, this artistic competition is open to all young people between the ages of 16 and 35. The judge’s panel will select 32 songs from the submissions, at which point there will be a three-day competition. Over the course of these three days, the artists will each have a chance to perform their Christmas tune live before the panel, in Rome.
By day three, the panel will have narrowed it down to eight contestants and from these they will select the winners of each category. The Christmas Contest has three categories for consideration: Best Lyrics, Best Musical Track, and Best Performance. The winners of each category will have earned the opportunity to perform their new songs on 29th edition of the Concerto di Natale, an annual Christmas Eve concert that broadcasts during primetime.
Of the event, the Christmas Contest’s organizers write:
“The three evenings aim to combine talented entertainment with the mission of the format, stimulating creativity, enhancing young people and helping to enrich the already existing Christmas songs repertoire.”
Vatican News reports that Pope Francis met with some of the participants on Monday, November 22. The pontiff hailed the event as a way to “give a voice to young people,” and urged participants to be courageous in their music. He said:
“The beauty of Christmas shines through in the sharing of small gestures of genuine love,” Francis said. “It is not alienating, it is not superficial, it is not evasive; on the contrary, it expands the heart.”
He went on to thank all the participants for taking up the challenge of the Christmas Contest. In his final remarks, Pope Francis quoted St. Paul VI, on beauty:
“This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair,” Pope Francis added, “I thank you, dear young people, artists and sportspeople, for not forgetting to be custodians of this beauty, that the Nativity of the Lord makes shine in every daily gesture of love, sharing and service.”