History of the Competition
The Summer Institute of Church Music held its first organ competition in 1972. From 12 entrants, six finalists were chosen, and Terence Ford and Gertrude Olford were chosen as winners by a jury chaired by that year’s organ instructor, George Faxon. The prizes were announced by their donor, Dr. J. N. Lowes.
The competition was held again in 1973 and 1974. In 1976, it took on its current biennial shape and in 2005 was formally renamed the Osborne Organ Competition in honour of its founders, who originally endowed the tradition of the Institute giving a scholarship for advanced study in church music, to be awarded by organ competition.
The Florence and Stanley Osborne Scholarship in Church Music is named for Mrs. & Dr. Stanley Llewellen Osborne. With proceeds from If Such Holy Song (Whitby, 1976), his commentary on the 1971 joint hymn book of the United Church of Canada and Anglican Church of Canada, Dr. Osborne, the founding Director of the Summer Institute of Church Music endowed, via the Osborne Organ Competition Fund, a scholarship in Church Music to be awarded biennially by organ competition.
Honouring that gift, in 2007 SICM launched the Holy Song touring program as a profile-raising initiative for the Institute and a fund-raiser for the Osborne Organ Competition Fund. To date, several thousand dollars have been raised in support of the fund.
The 24th Osborne Competition was not held in 2016 as planned as there were not enough applicants. This is only the second time in the history of the competition this has happened. The 24th competition will now be held in the next competition year which is 2018. Entrance requirements and the application-brochure will be finalized and available by January, 2018.
SICM’s 23rd Osborne Organ Competition culminated Tuesday, July 8th 2014 in the final round at St. George’s Anglican Church in Oshawa.
The jury, chaired by David Palmer and including Fred Graham and Christopher Dawes, ultimately awarded First Prize to Stephen Boda, and shared Second Prize between Matthew Whitfield and David Simon.
Osborne Competition winner:
Concerned with the standard of hymn-playing in recent competitions, and wanting to encourage competitors to focus more on service-playing skills, alongside their repertoire selections, the SICM Board expanded the hymn-playing requirement of the final round effective this year (2014) to include a short improvisation and the accompanying of a cantor.
The Board extends its thanks to all Competition entrants, the three finalists, the jury members, and to Susan Baus who served as Cantor.
Congratulations to the three finalists in the 22nd Biennial Osborne Organ Competition (2012).
In the final-round competition (held July 3rd, 2012 at the 43rd Session of the Summer Institute of Church Music at St. George’s Anglican Church in Oshawa), the jury awarded Matthieu Latreille the First Prize and apportioned the Second Prize between Stephen Boda and Francine Nguyen-Savaria.
The blind, final-round competition was juried by Rachel Laurin (chair), Hilary Apfelstadt and Fred Graham.