Choral Scholarships

St Mary’s Church, Primrose Hill is recruiting 4 choral scholars (SATB) from January-July 2019 for which they will be paid a fee of £1,450.   There may also be additional fees from occasional services. The scholarships are particularly suitable for music college students, young professional singers and those aspiring to university choral scholarships.

The music at St Mary’s is maintained to high standards by the current Organist & Choirmaster, Tony Henwood (appointed 2008) and the Assistant Organist & Choirmaster, Bryan Almond (appointed 1993).  There is also an Organ Scholar. Various recordings have been made in recent years and the Choir has presented recitals in London and Paris. Earlier this year the choir sang on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Morning Worship and they also recently appeared on a BBC documentary, ‘Holst and Vaughan Williams: making music English.’

The rich musical heritage of St Mary’s Primrose Hill has its origins with its most famous vicar, Percy Dearmer (Vicar 1901-15), who with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw (organist of St Mary’s 1909-20) compiled The English Hymnal (1906). The congregation at St Mary’s was the first to sing many well-loved hymns such as ‘He who would valiant be’, ‘In the bleak midwinter’, and ‘For all the saints’. The musical tradition continued to be enriched by figures such as J H Arnold (the plainsong scholar), George Timms (Vicar 1952-65) who directed the publication of The New English Hymnal (1986), Tony Greening (teacher and early music scholar), John Rutter, the composer, (a one-time member of the Choir and Assistant Organist of St Mary’s) and a number of distinguished organists including Christopher Herrick and Michael Fleming.

The Choir
The Choir of St Mary’s Church, Primrose Hill, sings at the 10.30am Mass each week and at the 6pm Choral Evensong on the first Sunday of every month.

The Choral Scholars
Scholars will be expected to provide leadership and support to their voice parts in rehearsal and services.  Those applying should have excellent sight-reading skills and musicianship. The positions are particularly suited to music college students, young professional musicians and those aspiring to university choral scholarships. Experience of church music and the Anglican choral tradition is useful but not essential.  Choral Scholars will gain experience of a wide repertoire of sacred music, while developing their technique in solo work, small ensembles and with the full choir. It is a fine introduction to the London choral scene, and provides useful training for those wishing to sing with professional choral ensembles.

Regular schedule
The choir sings for the Mass each Sunday morning, apart from the whole of August and the Sundays immediately after Christmas and Easter.  There is no weekly rehearsal.
Sunday Mass 10.30am (rehearsal 9.15am)
Sunday Evensong (on the first Sunday of each month) 6pm (rehearsal 4.30pm)

In addition, the Choral Scholars will be required at the following services:
Ash Wednesday
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Easter Day Dawn Mass
Ascension Day

Fees
For the period January-July 2019, Choral Scholars will each be paid a fee of £1,450.  These scholarships are new and in subsequent years will run from September-July at an annual fee of £2,250.  Those Scholars appointed for 2019 are welcome to apply for the academic year 2019-2020 (and, indeed, beyond) if they would like.   In the event of reasonable planned absence, it is possible for Choral Scholars to book deputies to cover their singing. Deputies must be approved by the Organist & Choirmaster and it is the Choral Scholar’s responsibility to make appropriate payment in such cases.

Auditions
Applicants will have a short interview with the Director of Music, Assistant Director of Music and Vicar to discuss their objectives and prior experience.  The audition will comprise singing a piece of the applicant’s own choice and sight-reading of two or three choral pieces, usually including a renaissance piece and a more modern work.

Applications
Applicants should submit their CV and a brief letter of application by email (music@smvph.org.uk) to reach the Organist & Choirmaster by 3rd December, 2018.  The Organist & Choirmaster is always happy to discuss the role and its requirements informally prior to a formal audition and can be contacted via the email address above.