St Pauls Church Organ Scholarship
Information for candidates
St Paul’s Church Clifton offers an Organ Scholarship, with applications open to students studying any course at the University of Bristol. The Scholarship is an excellent opportunity for those looking to develop their skills as a church musician in the Anglican choral tradition, in a safe and supportive environment.
St Paul’s is an Inclusive Church where all are welcomed without expectation, and the Scholarship will be awarded irrespective of the religious convictions of the candidate. The award, which will be renewable annually (normally for the duration of the candidate’s academic course) will be about £1450 per annum. Renewal will be conditional on satisfactory academic progress and on the efficient performance of the duties listed below. Applications are welcome from current or prospective University of Bristol students.
Method of application
Candidates for the Scholarships should apply for University entrance through the normal UCAS channels.
In addition, you should complete a Scholarship application.
Application forms are available from the Department of Music:
Telephone: +44 (0)117 331 4044
The closing date for the vacancy from Autumn 2023 is 30 June 2023.
The Organ Scholars are responsible for planning and leading the liturgical music during term time at St Paul’s, including directing and rehearsing the University of Bristol Church Choir. Applicants are not expected to have prior knowledge of choral direction and will be supported in developing this skill in their first year by the Senior Organ Scholar. With no director of music at St Paul’s, the organ scholars will gain a great deal of practical experience, playing or conducting every week, while being supported and encouraged by the choir, clergy team and other members of St Paul’s Church. This is perhaps in contrast to many other organ scholarships, where the scholar may have less overall responsibility, but works with a team of experience professional organists.
Normally the Parish Communion on Sunday mornings calls for Organ and Choir (with congregational hymns, choral Anthems/Introits, and organ Voluntaries) and there will be a number of services during the year of a predominantly Choral nature, including several evensongs. There is also considerable opportunity for initiating other musical events. The Scholar's duties consist of:
- Taking part with the clergy in planning the services within the overall strategy of the Church; producing at the 10.30am Sunday morning Eucharist the music that has been previously agreed with the Vicar. There will also be two choral evensongs a term. The scholar will officiate at such other Festival and special services as occur from time to time, including the Advent Carol Service and Ash Wednesday Eucharist. Additional fees are payable for playing at weddings and funerals.
- Working with the UoB Church Choir committee to recruit a choir, and taking a weekly choir practice (Friday, 5.30-7pm).
- Generally fostering the musical life of the Church through occasional performances, recitals, congregational practices, visits to Cathedrals with the choir, arranging concerts and so on.
- Working with the Project Development Officer and Steering Group on the development and implementation of ‘One Equal Music’, a new project at St Paul’s which may include a scholarship for a school pupil to gain experience in composition and/or church choral music.
Details of tenure
During the first year the Scholar will be the Junior Scholar working under the direction of and in collaboration with the Senior Scholar. In their middle year(s) theywill have sole responsibility. In the final year, while retaining overall responsibility, they will have the assistance of a new Junior Scholar.
The Scholar's duties will continue through the University terms and for the first and last Sundays of each vacation. On other Sundays the Church will accept responsibility for finding locums, or may arrange remuneration for vacation duties with the scholar.
Should the Scholar at any time be unable to carry out the duties for any reason, the Vicar of St Paul's should immediately be informed.
The organ and choir
The organ was built by F. Rothwell in 1905, incorporating some earlier pipework, but was substantially reconstructed in 1975 by Percy Daniel & Co, in a more eclectic style, and is currently maintained by Harrison and Harrison. It has 29 speaking stops over 2 manuals and pedals with electric action. Despite its relatively modest specification, it is flexible enough to play a wide range of solo repertoire, and can be an effective accompanimental instrument. The church also has a fine Bechstein grand piano. The Scholar will have access to both instruments and St Paul’s is located conveniently close to the University campus.
The choir is a voluntary body made up of about twenty members, predominantly students in the UoB Church Choir society. The Church possesses an extensive library of Service music and anthems and there is an annual budget for the purchase of new music.
Organs at the University
Prospective scholars will be interested in the following information about the four organs that are available at the University:
- the Recital Room at the Music Department houses a fine, mechanical action 13-stop chamber organ, with two manuals and pedals, built by William Drake (1996).
- the Auditorium at the Music Department houses a three manual and pedal digital organ from the Veritas Organ Company, generously donated by its designer Graham Blyth (2011).
- the University Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building has a large three manual (four divisions) and pedal organ; it was built by Nicholsons in the 1960s but has since been modified and maintained by Harrisons of Durham.
- the Chapel of Wills Hall recently acquired a beautiful two manual and pedal, mechanical action organ by Peter Collins.
Clearly, as an organ scholar, you will have free and regular access to the instrument in the church with which you are associated, but subject to the availability of rooms, every effort will be made to provide further practice facilities on the University organs listed above. Scholars who are Music students will of course have appropriate practice time for degree recitals at the University.