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English Composer Wins 2017 Candlelight Carol Competition

Janet Wheeler, composerCONWAY, Ark. (November 9, 2017) – Composer and choral conductor Janet Wheeler of Saffron Walden, England, has been selected as the winner of this year’s Hendrix College Candlelight Carol Competition. Her submitted work, Behold, I Come, was selected from more than 65 entries, and will premiere in the 2017 Hendrix Candlelight Carol Service.

This year, submissions were required to be a cappella and compatible for programming following the reading of the second lesson in the service (Genesis 22: 1-3, 9-13, 15-18). Wheeler, a University of Cambridge graduate, professional choral conductor and composer, set to music a text by renowned hymn writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748). 

Wheeler currently conducts five choirs in the Saffron Walden and Cambridge area, working with singers of all ages. A growing number of choirs and other groups are performing her works, including Gloucester Cathedral Choir, I Fagiolini, the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, the Eton Choral Course, National Youth Choir of Wales, University of London Chamber Choir, Imperial College Choir, Harlow Symphony Orchestra, Colchester New Music, and the Leith Hill Music Festival. 

Wheeler will receive a $1,000 award, plus up to $300 in travel reimbursement to attend a performance. 

Now in its third year, the competition welcomes composers of any age or nationality to submit works for consideration. Information regarding next year’s competition will be posted in February. 

Finalists were reviewed by a committee including guest judges Dr. Deanna Joseph of Georgia State University and Dr. Ryan Board of Pepperdine University; Hendrix College music major Danielle Rosson ’18; and Hendrix music faculty Dr. Karen Griebling and Dr. Andrew Morgan.  

Past winners of the competition, which began in 2015, include Gentle Mary Laid Her Child by Alan MacMillan and A Christmas Lullaby by Edmund Jolliffe. Competition judges in previous years have included Dr. Stephen Caldwell of the University of Arkansas, Dr. Dominick DiOrio of Indiana University, and Dr. Matthew Mehaffey of the University of Minnesota. 

The 2017 Candlelight Carol Service performances are set for November 30-December 3 on campus, and December 14-15 on tour in Dallas and Little Rock. All Candlelight Carol Services are free and open to the public, though reservations are required for the on-campus services. Reservations may be made online beginning November 20.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit