Welcome to March of the Dragons 

University of Silicon Valley Commencement Ceremony Composition Competition

University of Silicon Valley announces a competition open to all current students to compose a processional march for this spring’s commencement ceremony. USV seeks a composition that embodies both the elegance and seriousness of such a major milestone event, yet with a USVian flair. The winning student will work with USV AMT faculty to create a professionally produced recording of their composition, and have it played during the processional march at the University of Silicon Valley 2022 commencement ceremony. The winner will also receive an award and public recognition on stage at commencement.

Entry Guidelines



  1. Any currently enrolled USV student (both full-time and part-time) may enter
  2. Group project entries are welcome
  3. Entries should be approximately 3-4 minutes in length and must be original work of the submitting student composer
  4. Entries remain the Intellectual Property of the student composer, but winning composer will grant University of Silicon Valley the rights to use the composition in perpetuity
  5. Your entry does not need to be fully arranged, but must have at least the fundamentals of a melody, bass line, chords, and rhythmic structure
  6. The winner will be selected anonymously by a panel of faculty, staff, and students and will be notified on Tuesday, March 1st
  7. The judges reserve the right to not select a winner in the event they deem none of the compositions ready to move forward into production

Submission Requirements



  1. Entries should be submitted by midnight PDT on Friday, Feb 25th
  2. Name your file “LastName_FirstInitial_Processional.wav” (your identifying information will be removed before judging to maintain anonymity). If this is a group project, please use the last name and first initial from one of the group members.
  3. Although only an audio file is to be submitted, there must exist a MIDI file for the piece from which the final work will be produced
  4. For questions on how to upload using a MAC or PC please contact Xo Xinh Nguyen, xnguyen@usv.edu



Suggestions for a Successful Entry

Listen to the examples below of famous processional marches. We are not suggesting your piece sound like these, and welcome submissions in any style of music. We, instead, list these pieces because they have a number of elements in common that make them effective as a processional march.

They usually begin with some sort of declamatory statement or fanfare that announces the entry of the procession

The actual march is usually a moderately slow walking pace

The meter is typically 4/4 with equal emphasis on all four beats

The march usually has contrasting sections of loud/forceful and quiet/gentle, although they remain at the same tempo

Examples of Processional Marches

Pomp and Circumstance March #1 by Edward Elgar (the part everyone knows is the quiet/gentle section that begins around 1:57)

Procession of the Nobles from “Mlada” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (this one is actually in a 3/4 meter)

Solemn March for Tsar Alexander III's Coronation by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Triumphal March from “Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi

Opening March from Music for the Royal Fireworks (first 2:58) by Georg Friedrich Handel

Grand March from “Tannhauser” by Richard Wagner

Throne Room/End Credits from “Star Wars IV” by John Williams

Procession from “The City” by Vangelis

SIGGRAPH Official Theme by Julius Dobos
(this example is a little fast for a processional, but the style is completely apropos)


Friday, February 25, 2022
midnight (PDT)

See guidelines and requirements before uploading your submission.

Questions? Email Xo Xinh Nguyen for more information.