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Handbook - Music Division Rules

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

Note: The music division is divided into two sub-divisions: Vocal and Instrumental. All vocal music entries and accompanying paperwork should be sent to (staff person to be determined). All Special Recognition entries and Local Level Participation paperwork should also be sent to (staff person to be determined).

All instrumental music entries and accompanying paperwork should be sent to (staff person to be determined).

  1. Eligible Veteran inpatients and outpatients may submit up to three (3) solos in any one division. (Example: three music solos, three dance solos or three drama solos, all in different categories.)
  2. Music entries must be video recorded and last three minutes or less in length. Any entries reaching national competition that are longer will be disqualified.
  3. Only one entry in any category may be submitted from each Veterans Affairs facility. If more than one eligible Veteran enters a category at the Veterans Affairs facility, there must be a process for selecting the one entry to advance to national competition for that category from that facility.
  4. Once an entry has placed first in the music division at the national level of competition, it is not eligible to be entered again. (Example: if a Veteran or group places first with a music selection in a category one year at the national level, the Veteran or group may not enter that specific music selection again in the competition but he may enter that category again with a different music selection.) Music entries that have not placed first at the national level of competition should not be entered more than two consecutive years.
  5. No restrictions or qualifications shall be placed on accompanists or conductors for musicians. However, accompanists may only accompany and not take instrumental leads or solos. There is no limit in the number of accompanists that may be utilized in an entry, as long as they are only accompanying. A band of musicians may accompany a vocal solo, vocal group, instrumental solo or instrumental group. (Example: an instrumental group consisting of eligible Veteran inpatients or outpatients taking leads on saxophone, trumpet and guitar accompanied by non-lead staff or volunteers on piano, drums and bass.)
  6. The addition of staff, volunteer(s), and/or Veterans who are not current inpatients or outpatients to any entry other than as accompanists or conductors will result in disqualification. It should be noted that although the National Veterans Creative Arts Program recognizes the therapeutic value of participation of staff, volunteers and ineligible Veterans in groups, it is essential in keeping with the fairness of the competition that only eligible Veteran inpatients or outpatients are competing against each other.
  7. An original composition can be placed in categories other than original, but will be judged with the non-original judging criteria: intonation (unless piano), rhythm, interpretation, stage presence, and blend & cohesiveness (if group).
  8. Only one voice may be present to be considered a solo. Once a second voice is added the entry becomes a group entry and singers must meet eligibility requirements. If back-up voices are present, they must be eligible Veteran inpatients or outpatients and their inclusion would make the entry a Vocal Group. Back-up singing by staff, volunteers, ineligible Veterans or karaoke will result in disqualification. Karaoke tapes must not include back-up singing but must be instrumental accompaniment only (this includes back-up tracks that may have the Veteran’s voice dubbed in). The presence of any vocal in a musical number will eliminate that number from competing in the instrumental area.
  9. Judges reserve the right to move an entry to the appropriate category or disqualify the entry if rules are not followed.
  10. Each video recorded entry must contain a title slide/page that includes the category number, category name, title of piece and name of Veteran(s) in the entry. The time it takes for the title page to be viewed does not count against the 3 minute entry.

Note: Veterans Affairs staff contact persons will be notified via E-mail with the 2013 competition results.

Vocal Solo Categories

Note: All vocal music entries (solo and group) and Special Recognition entries (solo and group) should be sent to (staff person to be determined).

  1. Vocal Solo Country/Folk/Bluegrass
  2. Vocal Solo Pop
  3. Vocal Solo Jazz/Rhythm & Blues
  4. Vocal Solo Classical - Vocal music of established value and fame, of extended duration and greater stability. This does not include popular music.
  5. Vocal Solo Broadway - Show Tunes, not movies. (Example: “People” would be acceptable as it is also from a Broadway show, not because it is from a movie. “New York, New York” would not be acceptable as it is from a 1977 Liza Minnelli movie.) Specify the Broadway show after the title.
  6. Vocal Solo Rock
  7. Vocal Solo or Group Comedy - A vocal selection that is of light and humorous character.
  8. Vocal World/Ethnic Music Solo or Group - A vocal selection that reflects the music characteristics of a specific ethnicity, culture, or country. The selection should be from a culture other than that of English-speaking North America. Use of ethnic instruments as accompaniment is encouraged. This category does NOT include classical or popular music.
  9. Vocal Solo Patriotic
  10. Vocal Solo Inspirational
  11. Vocal Solo Song with Dance - Vocal solo with choreographed dance movements, not merely gestures.
  12. Original Vocal - Vocal solo or group. Original vocal compositions composed by one or more eligible Veterans judged solely on the merits of the composition. Lyrics and music must be composed entirely by an eligible Veteran/s and that Veteran/s will be the one entered in this category. A performer or group other than the composer may perform the work, but the composer(s) should be shown on the video. A copy of the lyrics must be attached to the entry form to aide the judges in evaluating the lyrics.

Vocal Group Categories

To meet the intent of the categories for Vocal Group, the group must have more than one eligible Veteran inpatient or outpatient singing. (Example: One eligible Veteran being accompanied on instruments by other eligible Veterans does not meet the definition of a vocal group. Instead, that would be a vocal solo with accompanists.)

  1. Vocal Group Country/Folk/Bluegrass
  2. Vocal Group Pop
  3. Vocal Group Jazz/Rhythm & Blues
  4. Vocal Group Classical - Same as #4, but with more than one Veteran.
  5. Vocal Group Broadway - Same as #5, but with more than one Veteran.
  6. Vocal Group Rock
  7. Vocal Group Patriotic
  8. Vocal Group Inspirational
  9. Vocal Group Song with Dance - Vocal group with choreographed dance movements, not merely gestures.

Senior Vocal Categories – Solo and Group

The purpose of the senior categories is to allow Veterans who may have experienced diminished physical functioning an opportunity to compete in a category with persons who are at a similar level and age. Categories 22-23 are special categories for our senior eligible Veterans age 65 and older. Entries may be any type music. Group members must all be eligible Veteran inpatients and outpatients 65 years of age or older. As with all other group categories, groups may not be expanded with staff, volunteers or ineligible Veterans. There are not restrictions on accompanists or conductors. Seniors are not limited to these categories but may also enter any of the other categories.

  1. Senior Vocal Solo
  2. Senior Vocal Group

Special Recognition – Solo and Group Categories

These categories are for music entries that recognize individuals who exhibit creative expression through the use of music while possessing significant physical or psychological limitations. The intent of this category is to reinforce the concept of the arts as therapy, where an individual uses artistic expression to facilitate successful treatment outcomes. Entries and their accompanying written statements from the Veteran’s Veterans Affairs staff contact person should focus on how the arts are used by the individual(s) to rise above severe limitations.

  1. Special Recognition Solo
  2. Special Recognition Group

Entries in this category MUST include:

  • Solo or Group Entry form
  • a written statement/narrative (25 to 225 words) by a Veterans Affairs staff person or the Veteran of why the Veteran is deserving of special recognition
  • a Consent for Picture and/or Voice form(s) signed by the Veteran(s)
  • a Request for and Consent to Release Medical Records or Health Information form signed by the Veteran(s)

Instrumental Solo Categories

Note: All instrumental music entries (solo and group) should be sent to (staff person to be determined).

  1. Instrumental Solo Country/Folk/Bluegrass
  2. Instrumental Solo Pop
  3. Instrumental Solo Jazz/Rhythm & Blues
  4. Instrumental Solo Classical - Instrumental music of established value and fame, of extended duration and greater stability. This does not include popular music.
  5. Instrumental Solo Broadway - See #5.
  6. Instrumental Solo Rock
  7. Instrumental Solo or Group Comedy - An instrumental selection of light and humorous character.
  8. Instrumental World/Ethnic Music Solo or Group - An instrumental selection that reflects the music characteristics of a special ethnicity, culture, or country. The selection should be from a culture other than that of English-speaking North America. Use of ethnic instruments is encouraged. This category does NOT include classical or popular music.
  9. Instrumental Solo Patriotic
  10. Instrumental Solo Inspirational
  11. Instrumental Solo or Group Drums/Percussion - It is the intent of this category to showcase non-melodic percussion instruments, i.e. trap set, congas, bongos, spoons, rhythm instruments, etc. This category would exclude percussion instruments that can produce an obvious melody line, i.e. xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, etc. Accompaniment may be present as desired and may include melody line, but ONLY the percussionist will be judged.
  12. Original Instrumental - Instrumental solo or group. Original compositions will be judged solely on the merit of the composition. A performer or group other than the composer may perform the work, but the composer should be shown on the video.

Instrumental Group Categories

To meet the intent of the categories for Instrumental Group, the group must have more than one eligible Veteran inpatient or outpatient performing instrumental solos/leads or make other essential contributions musically to the entry other than just accompanying. There are no limits to the number of accompanists in the group but care should be taken that non-eligible Veteran inpatients or outpatients (i.e., staff, volunteers, Veterans who are not current inpatients or outpatients) are not performing solos/leads. The presence of any vocal in a musical number will eliminate it from competing in an instrumental category.

  1. Instrumental Group Country/Folk/Bluegrass
  2. Instrumental Group Jazz/Rhythm & Blues/Rock
  3. Instrumental Group Pop/Classical/Broadway
  4. Instrumental Group Patriotic/Inspirational
  5. Instrumental Group Handbells/Handchimes

Vocal AND Instrumental Band Category

  1. Vocal AND Instrumental Band - An ensemble entirely of eligible Veterans that includes at least one singer and at least one instrumentalist. Each group member must offer a significant musical contribution to the ensemble. Entries into this category will be judged by the overall performance of the entire group (vocalists and instrumentalists). All group members must be shown on the video and each group member must sign a Consent Form or the entry will be disqualified.

Note: This category differs from the vocal group and instrumental group categories. Please reference the vocal group and instrumental group categories for clarity of definitions. Also, be advised that a single entry may not be submitted into two or more categories within the same division (as stated in the National Rules section).

Senior Instrumental Categories – Solo and Group

The purpose of the senior categories is to allow Veterans who may have experienced diminished physical functioning an opportunity to compete in a category with persons who are at a similar level and age. Categories 44-45 are special categories for our senior eligible Veterans age 65 and older. Entries may be ANY type music. Group members must all be eligible Veteran inpatients and outpatients 65 years of age or older. As with all other group categories, groups may not be expanded with staff, volunteers or ineligible Veterans. There are not restrictions on accompanists or conductors. Seniors are not limited to these categories but may also enter any of the other categories.

  1. Senior Instrumental Solo
  2. Senior Instrumental Group

Music Division Judging Criteria

Judges at the 2013 National level of competition will be ranking each music entry (excluding originals) based on the following criteria: intonation (unless piano), rhythm, interpretation, stage presence, and blend & cohesiveness (if group). Categories 12 and 37 (original vocal solo and original vocal group) will be judged based on: melody line, rhythm, and style.

Submitting Entries into the 2013 Competition

Veterans interested in participating in the competition should contact the local recreation therapy/creative arts therapy departments at the VA facility where they are enrolled, as early as possible to assure that deadline dates for submission of entries are met. Veterans must work with a staff person from the VA facility where they are enrolled to obtain necessary entry and consent forms and to submit the digital video recording of their entry.


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