ASO Launches ‘Stand Beside Her’ Essay Contest

ASO Launches ‘Stand Beside Her’ Essay Contest

- in Education

The Akron Symphony Orchestra is currently accepting submissions for its Stand Beside Her Essay Contest for high school students.

During the 2019-20 concert season, the orchestra is celebrating the influential work of six women composers/artists as part of the Stand Beside Her project in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote.

The Stand Beside Her Essay Contest challenges students in grades 9-12 to write an original and creative essay about influential women composers from a provided list. A list of composers is available at; students also may select a composer not on the list.

Essays will be judged on the demonstrated understanding of the subject matter, originality, and the quality of the writing.

A $500 prize will be awarded to the winner, who will also receive four complimentary tickets to the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s May 16 concert. Two runners-up will receive two tickets each to the May 16 concert. The winner, both runners-up, and their guests also will receive a backstage tour prior to the concert along with a reception in the Green Room at E.J. Thomas Hall.

Winners will be notified by May 1.


  • The contest deadline is April 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (EST).
  • Essays can be no more than 1,000 words but must be a minimum of 700 words. Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count.
  • Essays must be the original work of the student.
  • Essays must describe the influence of a female composer, including how and why they made an impact on their community or the arts in general.
  • Essays must have a minimum of three sources.

Essay Submission

  • Students have the choice of either submitting their essay online (preferred) at or of mailing their essay. All students must complete and submit a registration form online for student and school information.
  • Mailed essays must be postmarked by April 15, 2020.
  • Students must complete the online registration and submission form.

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