Third Annual Music and Worship Songwriting Competition

by Emily Finlay, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University’s Department of Music and Worship recently announced its third annual Songwriting Competition. The competition’s goal is to develop musical resources for congregational singing.

“The heart of the worship degree is to prepare students to serve the body of Christ,” said Roger O’Neel, Ph.D., director of the worship program. “This competition challenges our students to write theologically sound, musically compelling songs for congregations.”

The worship department sought an internationally renowned, award-winning panel of judges for the 2014 competition. The songs will be judged by Paul Baloche, Mia Fieldes and Mark Harland, all three of whom have been to Cedarville’s campus and know the quality education the students receive. Baloche is a songwriter, mentor and teacher who has been leading worship at Community Christian Fellowship in Lindale, Texas, for 23 years. He is best known for writing such modern classics as “Above All,” “Open the Eyes of my Heart” and “Your Name.” Fieldes works at Hillsong Music, studied at Hillsong International Leadership College and now lives in Franklin, Tenn., where she continues to write and travel as a worship leader. Her songs include “Christ is Risen,” “More Than Amazing” and “Beautiful.” Harland, director of LifeWay Worship, is an accomplished songwriter who has published over 150 songs and produced numerous choral music projects. His best-known songs include “Bow the Knee,” “The Glory of God” and “Run to the Cross.”  He has produced several musicals for Lifeway, including a tribute to the 9/11 tragedy.

The competition is open to all current Cedarville University students, and the deadline to submit the songs is February 19. Students must submit original songs for the competition, including an audio demo and a chord chart or lead sheet. Submissions should be submitted to Susan Plemons, assistant professor of worship, by campus mail or by email. The winners, who will be announced in March, will receive $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place.

“‘Soli Deo Gloria’ is the motto of the music and worship department,” Plemons said. “It is our goal to give God alone the glory for the talents that he has entrusted to us, as well as be good stewards and use these talents to serve the body of Christ.”

Cedarville University, located east of Dayton, Ohio, has 3,459 students in more than 100 areas of study. A Baptist university of arts, sciences, professional and graduate programs, Cedarville is recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at