Meet our new Organ Scholar, Tristan McElderry

What are you most looking forward to?


Definitely the experience of playing in front of a supportive crowd, with tons of pressure on me. Yes, that seems fun... (laughs)! I love playing in front of people, the adrenaline rush feels great. Obviously, when you're about to play, you get quite nervous, with the possibility of making a huge mistake looming in the back of your mind. However, once you begin, everything falls into place. It's all great fun, and learning from the best is a huge plus. I really enjoy performing, whether it is a choral piece, for a graded exam or just messing around on the piano, bashing out a piece you just found in a book you never knew you had.


How will you practise/play without an organ?


Its going to be tough, that's for sure! I will have to play my pieces on the piano more, since my allotted practise time has now been lost. Arrangements are being made for other practice venues, which will be great, as it will help me get used to play to the vagaries of different organ. It will be an odd situation; however, when the new organ comes in it will be a fantastic way to commemorate the church’s 900th anniversary. I am really looking forward to it!


Why and how did you start to play the organ?


I was being taught the piano by Helen, our Director of Music, at the time, and was singing in the choir, watching her play week in, week out. I then realised that what she was playing was not just a larger version of a piano, but a whole new instrument, with a whole new science and theory to it. It is a magical instrument, full of wonder, and so much more than meets the eye. I then saw Ian, our Visiting Organist, play during a few services, and when I found out that he was available to teach me, I straight away thought that this was a golden opportunity to learn the king of all instruments from a highly-skilled teacher. Both Helen and Ian have helped me grow as both a musician and a person.


What does your role of organ scholar involve?


The role of an organ scholar involves playing at services every week, including hymns, 

anthems or the Agnus Dei. I will also be accompanying Helen in rehearsals and helping her train the girls' choir from September. In the future, I hope that having been an organ scholar at such a young age will mean that I will be better able to conduct choirs. I know that musically I will learn a lot incredibly quickly, and I hope that I’ll be able to manage. It's a great opportunity that I can't wait to take full advantage of. It's all looking great at the minute, and I cannot wait to get started as Organ Scholar.


Sophie McElderry


This post first appeared as an article in the Parish Magazine, August 2014

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