The American Traditions Competition is planning its 24th year celebrating the wide range of American vocal music. We challenge singers to choose varied repertoire and compete in Savannah for a live audience and three celebrity judges.


  • Applicants must be at least 21 years old by February 20th, 2017
  • Former Gold Medal-winners are not permitted to compete
  • Singers can compete a total of 3 times every 5 years


  • Choose 9 Songs - EACH song must represent a DIFFERENT genre
  • Choose Song Order - Create 3 programs of 3 songs each (Quarterfinal, Semifinal and Final) and list them in the order in which you desire to perform them
  • Record three Quarterfinal songs and create MP3 files of each
  • Complete online application -
  • Upload 3 Quarterfinal MP3 songs with application
  • Submit $55 application fee via PayPal
  • Deadline: Midnight on Thursday (E.S.T.), October 20th, 2016


  • All 9 songs must represent a different genre, chosen from the following (FULL listing with definitions and examples available with our application PDF available for download below):
  • Blues
    Art Song
    Country & Western

    Sacred Song
    Musical Theater
    Songs of Johnny Mercer
    Cover Song (new for 2017!)
    Rock/Pop 70s-00s (new for 2017!)

  • Program songs and their order cannot be changed after submission
  • All music must have been composed by an American composer (either natural born or naturalized)
  • The majority of lyrics in each song must be in English
  • Time limits for each Round is as follows: Quarterfinal: 12 minutes, Semifinal: 13 minutes and Final: 16 minutes (Timing starts the moment the music begins, or contestant begins speaking to introduce the song, and ends when the final song does. Once time limit is exceeded, 1 point will be added to contestant's total score for that Round.)
  • Original compositions are allowed, so long as they fall into one of our genres


  • Application fee is non-refundable
  • A pianist will be provided for all Rounds of the competition
  • You may bring your own accompanist, but all costs incurred will be your responsibility
  • You may not accompany yourself
  • A rhythm section (acoustic bass, drums) will be available for the Final Round upon request. If you choose to use rhythm section, appropriate charts must be provided


Skidaway Island United Methodist Church
54 Diamond Causeway
Savannah, GA 31411

Historic Savannah Theatre
222 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401


First Prize $12,000
- The Gold Medal Award

Second Prize $6,000
- Heyward and Patty Gignilliat Silver Medal Award

Third Prize $3,000
- Bronze Medal Award

Fourth Prize $1,200

Fifth Prize $1,200
- Sponsored by The Savannah Friends of Music

Johnny Mercer Award* $750
- Presented by Friends of Johnny Mercer, Inc. and Armstrong State University
- For the best performance of a Johnny Mercer song

The Sherrill Milnes American Opera Award* $500
- For the best performance of an American Opera aria

The Ben Tucker Jazz Award* $500
- For the best performance of a jazz song

The Richard Chambless' People's Choice Award $500
- Awarded to a promising Quarterfinalist and Semifinalist chosen by the audience

Awards for Placement in the ATC:
- Semifinalists $600 & Quarterfinalists $300 (non-cumulative)

*To be considered for The Sherrill Milnes American Opera Award, The Johnny Mercer Award or The Ben Tucker Jazz Award, a selection of their respective genre must be presented in either the Quarterfinal or the Semifinal Round of the competition.

For questions regarding song choice or other aspects of the competition, please contact the Artistic Coordinator of the ATC, Vale Rideout, at -


  • Midnight on Thursday (E.S.T.), October 20th - Application Deadline
  • Thursday, November 3rd - Contestants announced
  • Monday, Feb 20, 2017 - Contestants arrive in Savannah (by 12 noon), Rehearsals begin for Quarterfinals
  • Tuesday, Feb 21 & Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017 - Quarterfinals at Skidaway Island United Methodist Church
  • Thursday, Feb 23, 2017 - Semifinals at Skidaway Island United Methodist Church
  • Friday, Feb 24, 2017 - Master Class given by judges, featuring chosen contestants, and the Finals Round - both held at the Historic Savannah Theatre

Click here to download our COMPLETE Application Instructions PDF Form: Download