2018 Competition

Congratulations to the 2018 NewWorks winner, Douglas Price!


The DaCapo Chamber Choir announces the winner of its eighth annual NewWorks choral composition competition:  Douglas Price, for his composition Laughter & Light.

The requirement of this year’s NewWorks competition was that submissions relate to the idea of new home, suitable for inclusion as part of our season 18/19 theme of “resettlement”.

Laughter and Light (with text by the composer) reflects the perspective of a refugee arriving on a new shore. Jurors praised how its “harmonic and rhythmic language fit beautifully with the text”.

Director Leonard Enns calls Laughter & Light (with text written by its composer) “a lovely musical “essay” that expands on the question lying at the heart of its text, “will this be where I call home?”…the music is questioning, yet hopeful, beginning as though tentatively testing a new ground to see if it will hold, and progressing gently but engagingly to a final and fresh harmonic universe, to a grateful arrival “Here in this new land. A new life, with laughter and light.”

DaCapo will premiere Laughter & Light at our May 2019 concert, with Douglas joining us for the concert.
The competition was adjudicated by a panel of three jurors from across Canada (Rachel Rensink-Hoff, ON; Susan Quinn, NL; Brian Wismith, BC) and director Leonard Enns, with all information about entrants anonymous until after a winner was chosen.
Previous NewWorks winners & compositions

About Douglas Price

Douglas Price is a composer and music director from London, Ontario. His composing career began at age seventeen when he wrote his high school’s full-scale musical and was awarded a nation-wide Top 20 Under 20 Award. In 2013 he completed the Music Directing Internship under Dr. Paul Sportelli at the Shaw Theatre Festival and went on to complete his Masters in Music Direction from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. He is currently the inaugural Head of Music at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. Douglas is inspired by telling stories through music. His most current composition project is a piece of musical theatre based on the true story of ‘Kitsault’, the most well-preserved ghost town in the world, located in the mountains of northern British Columbia.

Composer’s Note on Laughter & Light

It is truly an honour to have Laughter & Light be selected as the 2018 NewWorks Competition winner. When I first began working on this piece I was inspired by the many stories I was reading of refugees forced to abandon their homes and seek new lives in new places. The same image kept repeatedly floating through my mind: that of a woman standing on the deck of a boat as it approached the new land for the first time. I imagined her to feel anxious, alone and afraid, yet with a sliver of hope for the future. I imagined her wondering if she would one day call this new land her home.

I wanted the music to reflect the emotional journey this character might be going through. The beginning of the piece is hesitant, nervous, full of anticipation. As it progresses we are introduced to new musical layers as hope within the character builds. Towards the end, to parallel the multiple uses of the word “new” in the lyric, the music takes a surprising harmonic turn. And finally, saluting one of my favourite composers, Leonard Bernstein, and the last few chords of his stunning score West Side Story, I made use of the “suspended 2” chord resolving to a major triad signifying an immense feeling of hope. I am so grateful to the DaCapo Chamber choir for playing such a pivotal role in sharing this piece of music.


The DaCapo Chamber Choir gratefully acknowledges the support of:

  • Wallenstein Feed Charitable Foundation
  • Good Foundation Inc.
  • Ontario Arts Council
  • City of Kitchener
  • City of Waterloo