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The Song Contest run by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) to mark the anniversary of the Reformation is entering its final round. Following the lyrics competition in the first round, the next stage involves selecting the music.

The international panel of eminent judges has chosen its top five texts from the 106 entries, which now need setting to original music. There is a choice of two separately judged styles – “traditional” or “contemporary”. All five sets of lyrics are available in English alongside their original language and can be downloaded or requested from “The choice of styles and different languages should certainly encourage plenty of candidates to enter the competition,” says the CPCE’s General Secretary, Bishop Dr. Michael Bünker. “And as if that’s not enough, the winning compositions will be premiered at the CPCE’s European service of worship celebrating the 2017 anniversary in Wittenberg.” There’s still some time left until the 30 September 2015 deadline, when deliberations will commence on the anonymised submissions. The winning composer in each category, both “traditional” and “contemporary”, will also receive a cash prize.

During the summer, more participants also joined the CPCE’s “European Cities of the Reformation” project bringing together churches and their towns and cities to help commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. “Now Gennep in the province of Limburg is on our map, the European cities project has spread to the Netherlands, too, with Amsterdam potentially set to follow,” Dr. Bünker notes with pleasure. Other new partners include Chur in Switzerland and the German towns and cities of Idstein, Marburg, Mühlhausen and Schwabach. The latest additions mean there will soon be no less than 42 bearers of the coveted “European City of the Reformation” title spread throughout nine different countries.