Monica Wills Chapel Organ Scholarship

Information for Candidates

Through the generosity of the Wills Hall Association, an Organ Scholarship is available at The Monica Wills Chapel (situated in the grounds of Wills Hall, one of the University’s Halls of Residence on the edge of the Downs).

The annual value of the Scholarship is £750, paid in three termly instalments by bank transfer.

The Scholarship is awarded annually on merit and the award is made irrespective of the religious convictions of the candidate. Familiarity with a broad range of Christian worship styles would be an advantage.

The award may be renewed by mutual agreement (normally for a maximum of two years). Renewal will be conditional on satisfactory academic progress and on the efficient performance of the duties listed below.


Applications for the Wills Hall Organ Scholarship are accepted both from current students of the University of Bristol and from prospective students who have been offered a place to study at the University and have made Bristol their first preference. Where a candidate of suitable merit is identified, the award will normally be made to a student embarking on her/his first year of study.

The award is open to students from all disciplines: it is not a requirement that an applicant be a student of Music.

There is no requirement that applicants be resident in Wills Hall during the tenure of the award, although in the event that candidates of equal merit present themselves, the Trustees may wish to make the award to one who has a current or past association with Wills Hall.

Method of Application

You should complete a Scholarship Application Form which is available from the Wills Hall Association c/o

Deadline and Auditions

The application deadline is usually the first Friday in Teaching Block 1. An audition is required and will be notified by the Director of Chapel Music. An appointment will be made shortly after the auditions if a suitable candidate is identified. In the event that a suitable candidate is not appointed after the first round of auditions, the role may be held open for further applications thereafter.


All duties are carried out in consultation with the Director of Chapel Music (DCM). Liaison with the Officers of the Wills Hall Association (WHA) will also be necessary from time to time.

The Scholar is expected to be available throughout University terms and for one event in the summer vacation (see below, point 4).

Normally Evensong or Compline, on Friday early evening, calls for Organ and Choir (with Anthem, Canticle, Psalms, and Responses) and there will be some special services during the academic year of a predominantly Choral nature. There is also considerable opportunity for initiating other musical events in collaboration with the Director of Chapel Music (DCM). The Scholar's duties consist of:

1. Working with the DCM to plan services within the overall strategy of the Chapel

2. Producing at services the music previously agreed with the DCM

3. Playing for choral evening services during each term as agreed with the DCM

4. Playing at such other Festival and special services as occur from time to time, including the alumni reunion weekend Sunday service usually in July of each year (the WHA will cover the costs of accommodation for one night and the Scholar is invited to the alumni dinner free of charge)

5. Working with the choir (depending on the Scholar’s skills there may be opportunities to deputise for the DCM in conducting the Choir)

6. Fostering the musical life of the Chapel through occasional performances, recitals, congregational practices, visits to Cathedrals with the choir, arranging concerts and so on

Should the Scholar at any time be unable to carry out the duties for any reason, the DCM should be informed promptly. The stipend is unaffected by short periods of illness but if the Scholar should prove unable to carry out duties longer-term, s/he would be expected to resign to allow a successor to be appointed.

The Chapel, the Organ, and the Choir

The Monica Wills Chapel was given to the University in 1930 as a place of Christian worship for all students, especially those in the Stoke Bishop Halls of Residence. It can be found near the entrance to Wills Hall. Its programme of services and events is overseen by the Head of Residential Life and the Chapel Committee, often in consultation with the University’s Christian chaplains and most recently with the participation of an unpaid Chaplain from a nearby church or theological training college.

The current organ was built by Peter Collins for the 1983 St. Albans International Organ Festival, and thereafter placed in the Christian Science Church, Clifton. After the closure of that church it was bought for the Hall by former members in 2008 and rebuilt by Collins with the addition of four stops, a new wind chest and case. It is a mechanical action instrument, with two manuals and pedals.

Detailed information may be found at this URL:

There is also a grand piano in the chapel.

The choir is a voluntary body, with members being predominantly students from the Music and other departments at the University.

The location of the Chapel is indicated here:

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 new 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 Organ Scholar will have free and regular access to the instrument in the Chapel, 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.

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