American Negro Spirituals / Hall Johnson Competition

American Negro Spirituals / Hall Johnson Spirituals Competition

The American Negro Spirituals Category will alternate with the Hall Johnson Spirituals Category nationally, with the Texoma Hall Johnson Category offered in odd numbered years to advance to the national competition in even numbered years.

In order to register, students should contact their teacher (Any student may participate in the auditions whose current teacher of record is a NATS member in good standing in the Texoma Region.)  Teachers, click here for registration instructions and information.

For questions or further information, please contact Dr. Sarah Daughtrey []

The American Negro Spirituals Category

The American Negro Spirituals Category has been added to regularly scheduled regional student auditions with the top five regional winners advancing to the National Student Audition (NSA) rounds, as with all other NSA-eligible categories.  Awards range from $450 to $1600 at the national level.

Although most of the composers of the spirituals we now sing are unknown, the melodies and lyrics have been arranged by hundreds of arrangers in many different styles. The spirituals approved for performance in NATS auditions are the classical arrangements of the North American Negro Spirituals and arranged by classical North American composers. The terminology for singing in the American Negro Spirituals category is outlined and defined in the classical Audition Terminology.  While the American Negro Spirituals’ geneses are of and by African Americans, they tell the stories in music of the history of our country. NATS encourages all singers to explore, study, and perform these beautiful songs.

Click here to learn more about the competition

Official Repertoire Requirements:

Arrangements in classical style of the North American Negro Spirituals, by composers similar to the style of H.T. Burleigh, R. Nathaniel Dett, Florence Price, Moses Hogan, Edward Boatner, Undine Smith Moore, James Weldon and J. Rosamond Johnson, Margaret Bonds, Hall Johnson and others. The classical style excludes Gospel, Blues, and Jazz music. (Click here for list of approved arrangements and collections.)

Hall Johnson Spirituals Competition

Click here to learn more about the competition

The Hall Johnson Spirituals Competition is held every two years as part of the NATS National Conference in alternating years with the American Negro Spirituals competition (see above).  Winners of this category will proceed to a YouTube semi-final round with a chance of proceeding to the finals at the national conference.


  • First Prize: $2,000
  • Other monetary awards for Second and Third Prize
  • Two winners will also receive full tuition grants for the American Spirituals Intensive program at the Bay View Music Festival. READ MORE

Official Repertoire Requirements:

Students applying for this competition must prepare three contrasting selections from Hall Johnson spiritual repertoire only.  For specific (printable) repertoire requirements, click here

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