UNIVERSITY CHORAL SCHOLARSHIPS
No matter what you study, if you have the talent you can help form the professional heart of the University Chapel Choir and benefit from our new £800 choral scholarships (£1000 for organists and conductors).
AN OUTSTANDING OPPORTUNITY
Canterbury Christ Church University is delighted to offer twelve Choral Scholarships and three Organ/Conducting Scholarships. Scholarship holders may be reading any subject at either graduate or postgraduate level.
The twelve Choral Scholars form the professional core of the University Chapel Choir, and are supplemented by voluntary (unpaid) singers.
Christ Church is an Anglican foundation, sited within the ancient precincts of St Augustine’s Abbey, and the Chapel Choir sings a weekly service of Choral Evensong in term time, as well as representing the University on several occasions in our mother foundation, Canterbury cathedral (notably, singing services for Candlemas and Pentecost, and performing as part of the Carols by Candlelight service).
Once or twice a year the choir visits chapels and cathedrals further afield, to sing services. It is hoped that the tradition of annual tours will be resumed in the near future and that the choir will make recordings.
Organ Scholars, as well as playing the three-manual Makin electronic organ in the University Chapel, get the chance to play on the Canterbury cathedral instrument in the cathedral several times a year – at the special services and the University Graduation ceremonies mentioned above.
Choral Scholarships are worth £800 per annum and Organ/Conducting scholarships are worth £1,000 per annum.
Scholarship holders may be reading any subject. Applications are welcome from current undergraduate and postgraduate students. Scholarships are held for up to three years, with annual review.
Each year Christ Church offers at least four Choral Scholarships: one on each voice part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass; note that countertenors and contraltos are equally welcome) and one Organ/Conducting scholarship.
Each October we offer:
- At least four choral scholarships (one for each voice type, SATB), of between one and three years’ duration (with compulsory performance reviews/reauditions at least annually)
- One organ scholarship OR One conducting scholarship of between one and three years’ duration (with compulsory performance reviews/reauditions at least annually)
Scholars’ stipends are paid in four annual instalments (at the end of each academic term and following September graduations), in arrears. Deductions will be made for services and other obligatory events that have been missed without good reason.
It is preferred, but not essential, for potential Choral Scholars to have had relevant experience in a church choir. For all Scholars, good sight-reading skills are essential.
Choral and Organ/Conducting Scholarships are awarded by audition at the start of each academic year. They are held for up to three years, with an annual review (re-audition) in the spring.
Scholars are appointed at the start of Michaelmas Term, usually in early October. Duties commence immediately upon appointment and end the following year, with the September graduation ceremonies. Scholars will be appointed using the audition procedures below.
The term-time obligations for Choral and Organ/Conducting Scholars are:
- a weekly rehearsal for Scholars only (i.e.: without the voluntary members of the choir)
- a service of choral evensong every Thursday, early evening (preceded by a rehearsal)
- performing at several ‘occasional’ events through the year: services in the cathedral, Carols by Candlelight, etc.; a schedule of these will be issued at the start of every academic year.
In addition, Choral and Organ Scholars are obliged to perform at University Graduation ceremonies (and preceding rehearsals) in Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals, under the direction of the Director of Music. Graduations are currently scheduled on two days in mid-September and on two Fridays in late January/ early February.
If additional special events such as recordings and concerts are scheduled outside of academic term time it is hoped that all scholars would make themselves available, if asked, on a voluntary basis. Any out of term commitments will be kept to an absolute minimum, and where possible, expenses for such events will be met.
All Scholars are obliged to take lessons from the excellent selection of visiting professional staff working for the School of Music and Performing Arts. These lessons, costing £300 per annum, will be paid for out of the annual Scholars’ stipend. Choral Scholars who are reading Music and who are first-study singers (who thus already receive vocal lessons) are expected to take lessons on their second-study instrument. Organ scholars take keyboard lessons while Conductors may opt for keyboard, vocal lessons or conducting coaching, with arrangements to be approved by with the Director of Music.
Application Process and Requirement
The number of Scholarships awarded will be determined by the qua lity of the candidates selected for interview and audition at the University.
The deadline for applications this year is 9.00 am Monday 4 October. No applications will be considered after this date/time. Applicants must be, or due to become, a current undergraduate or postgraduate at Canterbury Christ Church University.
Fill in the online application form below and you will be emailed with an audition time on that date. We’ll include instructions to help you find the room, and to prepare for the audition.
Enquiries about the scheme may be directed to the chaplaincy.
The Audition Process (with ‘online’ alternative should conditions require it)
a. For Choral Scholarships, the audition consists of the performance of one song (of the candidate’s own choice), sight- singing and aural exercises, plus a brief conversation – total duration approximately 15 minutes. Note that the audition piece should be an appropriate piece for an Anglican Chapel Choir. An accompanist will be provided, and you should bring a copy of the sheet music for him. There will be no provision for the use of backing tracks.
- ‘Online’ alternative: candidates may be asked to submit a recording of their singing, and to keep an appointment for an online interview during which the aural and sight-reading exercises will be administered.
b. For the Organ Scholarship: the audition will consist of the performance of two contrasting works (of the candidate’s own choice), sight-reading, score-reading, accompaniment of a hymn and a psalm, and improvisation plus a brief conversation – total duration approximately 25 minutes.
- ‘Online’ alternative: candidates may be asked to submit a recording of their playing. Other exercises will be undertaken by arrangement in the Chapel, whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.
c. For the Conducting Scholarship, the audition consists of leading a 15-minute rehearsal with the choir, working on two pieces, one prescribed (and sent out to candidates in advance) by the University and the other of the candidate’s choice, plus a ten-minute interview – total duration approximately 25 minutes.
- ‘Online’ alternative: candidates may be asked to submit a video recording of their conducting of a short piece of recorded music. Other exercises will be undertaken by arrangement in the Chapel, with the choir, whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.
To obtain an audition please complete an application form (see ‘APPLY HERE’, below). Please be aware that the Referee you name may be contacted by the Director of Music, and you should ensure that you have your Referee’s agreement before you submit the form.
Choral Scholarship auditions will be held on Wednesday 6 October, 2.00-5.00 pm. The date of Organ and Conducting Scholarship auditions will also be on or around this date.