2nd Annual Carol Slam!

Welcome to the blog of the Portland Maine Carol Slam.

What is a carol slam? It’s like a poetry slam or story slam, but for carols. Composers will write original carols. A house choir will perform them for a cafe audience (you!). The audience will pick the best carol. The winning composer will get a wreath.

The goal is to inspire new holiday carols, as an antidote to the same old stuff every year. The first ever carol slam in 2012 was a . We had great new carols, a great choir, and a great crowd.

The second annual Carol Slam will take place on Saturday, December 21st, 2013 at 3:30pm, at Bull Feeney’s in Portland’s Old Port.

Check out the other posts here on the blog to learn more. If you’re a singer, you can join the house choir. If you’re a composer, you can write a new carol. If you’re both, do both! If you’re not, come anyway and help pick the best carol.

Anything else? Get in touch.




Want to compose a carol?  Want to sing with the house choir?  Have a question?

Please contact Ben for all things Carol Slam: portlandcarolslam@gmail.com.

Ben Heasly is a Portland native. He grew up in Stroudwater and did lots of singing at Woodfords church, and Deering High School, and in college. He now lives in the Oakdale neighborhood and is a grad student at USM.


Write a New Carol!

Why not write a carol? Here are some guidelines.

Original The goal of the Carol Slam is to inspire new music for wintertime, so please write something brand new!

Easy Carols should be fun for everyone to sing, so don’t go crazy.  Consider it a challenge to write interesting music without funny notation or virtuoso techniques.

SATB Please write your carol in 4-part harmony/counterpoint. That way lots of groups will be able to sing it.

Seasonal Winter is when we need carols. So make your carol be winter-seasonal, whatever that means to you: sacred, secular, post-modern, etc.

Format PDF files are the best.  Notation tools like Finale and Sibelius, make good-looking scores. So does engraving software like LilyPond.  You can also write by hand and scan it, as long as you write clearly enough for everyone to read.

December 19th Please email your carol to Ben at portlandcarolslam@gmail.com by Thursday December 19th, 2012. That way I can make copies for the house choir before we start rehearsing.

Copyrights Please use a public domain text, or obtain permission from your text’s author or copyright holder.  Or write your own text! Also, please allow your new carol to enter the public domain, for all to enjoy.

Finally, here are some tips to get you started.


Come Sing

If you like singing and reading new music, come join the Carol Slam house choir! Please get in touch with Ben at portlandcarolslam@gmail.com.

Please plan to meet three times for singing:

On Friday, December 20th 2013 at 7pm, we’ll do a first read through of all the new carols.

On Saturday, December 21st 2013 at 1:30pm, we’ll do a warm up/dress rehearsal before the actual slam.

Then we’ll perform at the actual slam on December 21st 2013 at 3:30pm.

This should give us enough time to learn the new carols and do them justice, without over-rehearsing and taking the fun out of it.

Also, I’ll try to send out the new music as soon as I can, so you can look at.



For 2013, Michelle and Adam Gutgsell made a goat-kicking poster.


Michelle painted it. Adam posterized it.

Who says you don’t need an umbrella in winter?