The church of St Mary Merton appoints a Junior and a Senior Organ Scholar each academic year, with the possibility of on-going renewal. Duties include accompanying the Choir for Sunday services and occasional feast days and assisting at choir practice, along with the opportunity to conduct the Choir from time to time.
The Scholarships are designed for school-age and sixth-form organ students looking to develop their playing and gain experience accompanying and directing a choir. The Senior Scholarship is particularly geared towards those looking to move on to a university organ scholarship – though it is open to all students over the age of 14. Guidance in liturgical playing, choral conducting and preparation for Oxbridge Organ Trials will be offered to the Scholars where appropriate.
Scholars are also eligible for subsidised lessons (organ, piano, singing & theory) with St Mary's musicians. Following a successful period of fours years, the PCC has recently supported the expansion of the scheme to create two Scholarships.
The organ is a versatile two-manual tracker action instrument with 25 speaking stops, newly-built by Mander in 2015 following a community fundraising project. It is a hugely versatile and much-loved instrument, kept in excellent condition. It is available to the Organ Scholar for private practice at most times throughout the week.
Auditions/interviews are held in the Summer term each year when vacancies arise - most students choose to continue as organ scholars until the end of Year 13.
Applications from all interested parties are welcome; the exact nature of both Scholarships can be tailored to individuals’ experience and needs.
For the 2019-20 academic year, we expect to have a vacancy for a junior scholar only.
For more details, please download the information pack below, or email us.
The Choir sings two services each Sunday (Choral/Sung Eucharist and Choral Evensong), as well as regular cathedral visits (most recently Westminster Abbey and Southwark Cathedral), concerts and civic services. As well as a thriving regular congregation, concerts and special services are well attended.
The Choir is made up of mixed ATB adults and teenage choral scholars, and mixed choristers (aged 7-18) – totalling about 35 singers. St Mary’s is one of very few parish churches in London with a treble-only top line - the Choristers receive an extensive music education and many go on to university choral scholarships. The Choir sings a wide range of repertoire from Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons to Vaughan Williams, Sumsion and Howells, as well as contemporary composers including James MacMillan, Jonathan Dove and Ben Parry. Examples of recent music lists can be found here.
The music department is made up of Helen Smee (Director of Music), Ian Tindale (Visiting Organist), Tristan McElderry (Gap-year Assistant Organist), Harriet Burns (vocal coach) and Bethan Thomas (theory coach).