The position of Organ Scholar involves assisting the Director of Music in all musical aspects of the services and rehearsals. There are many opportunities for playing, conducting and contributing to the general running and organisation of the music department, which includes some work in managing the choir library. The scholarship can be designed to suit each candidate’s needs, focusing on conducting, playing, or a balance of the two.
The Organ Scholar may also sing when not playing or conducting. There is a monthly recital series as well as choral concerts. Scholars are encouraged to perform in these concerts.
Several festivals over the course of the year do not fall on Sundays including Advent and Christmas services, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week services, Ascension Day, etc. The Organ Scholar is expected to be available for these services with the exception of Midnight Mass/Christmas Day.
A typical Sunday Eucharist will contain a voluntary before and after the service. Along with the hymns, the choir normally sing an anthem, a psalm (Anglican chant or Responsorial), as well as a mass setting which is normally congregational. Choral Evensong is sung every week (apart from August) using a host of different responses and canticles, which allow the choir to explore more repertoire including larger evening settings. Twice a month the organists will accompany the Sung Matins service.
Past Organ Scholars have studied at the Royal College of Music and have gone on to do careers in music, as well as organ scholarships at Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrew’s and abroad to the USA.
The St Mary Magdalene organ is a 3 manual 1907 Walker & Sons, restored in 1965 and 1999 with a conversion to an electric action, new pedalboard and tonal alterations. There is also a Blüthner grand piano in the church.