St Helen’s Church, Wheathampstead invites students to apply for the role of choral scholar.
St Helen’s is looking to award up to 5 choral scholarships of all voices – at least one each to male and female.
The choir rehearses on Friday evenings from 7:30-9pm and sings at the weekly 9:30am service, the monthly evensong at 6pm and additional services to celebrate seasons and festivals (e.g. Holy Week and Christmas). The choir is on holiday during August. Whilst attendance at all rehearsals and services is strongly encouraged the minimum requirement will be to attend 3 services per month and 2 Friday rehearsals per month plus key special services such as Advent and Christmas carols. This would normally be two Sunday morning services and the monthly Evensong.
In return the choral scholar would be paid an honorarium of £300 payable termly in arrears and would be able to play the organ free of charge (by arrangement). The scholar would have access to reduced prices on RSCM training courses and would be given free additional tuition if they wished to take any of the RSCM examinations. The honorarium is intended to cover costs of music lessons, courses or sheet music.
The aim of the scholarship is to benefit the singer as a performing musician and will provide useful experience for those wishing to apply for choral scholarships whilst in higher education.
The scholarships are open to all those in full time education – normally from school year 10 upwards.
What is the choir like at St Helen’s?
We have a thriving choir at St Helen’s. It is in two sections. The Junior choir is for those from School Years 2 to 8. We have a number of teenagers already members of the adult choir. At full strength the adult choir calls upon 14 Sopranos, 5 altos, 5 tenors and 5 basses. We sing a wide range of classical sacred music from the 1500s to the present day. We sang 3 evensongs at Canterbury Cathedral last Summer and will be singing weekend services at Portsmouth Cathedral at the beginning of the 2019 school summer holiday.
What will I get out of a choral scholarship?
If you’re a good singer – or just a good musician – singing in a choir enables you to learn some beautiful music and also to develop your aural skills and general musical awareness. You will get the camaraderie of working with likeminded young people in our choir – and likeminded older people too! You will benefit from the experience of our music leaders. Other opportunities also open up – the wonderful RSCM course for young people which takes place in Bath every August, potential to learn the organ, potential for taking recognised choral exams. All these stand you in good stead if you wish to take your choral (or more generally your music) career further. Many universities now offer choral scholarships which provide a small income and often present wonderful opportunities in terms of tours and other events. A choral scholarship is great for the CV for this reason – and in general. It shows you have a skill that you’ve developed and used for good.
How good a singer do I have to be?
We are not looking for qualifications. However, we are looking for someone who can sing to around Grade 5 standard and above. If you’re not offered a scholarship but are interested in one in the future come and join us now and apply again when your voice has developed a little more. Sight reading skills would help greatly but are not essential. The point of the scholarship is for us to help develop your voice and benefit from it whilst you’re with us.
Do I have to be a Christian?
No you do not. We welcome all faiths and none. The choir’s purpose is to support and lead Christian worship. What we would ask is that you understand, respect and support this purpose in your role as a scholar. If you wish to take the RSCM exams you will need to develop an understanding of the Christian year – the festivals and the bible passages that go with them. This knowledge helps develop your ability to deliver the choir’s purpose but again there is no requirement to believe!
How long does the scholarship last?
The scholarship will be renewed each year subject to a successful review and can be terminated by either party with one term’s notice. The scholarship will cease once the scholar has left full time education or is unable to perform their duties any longer (e.g. has moved away for university studies).
What other events will I be expected to attend?
The choir sings at additional services throughout the year. We have the Advent and Christmas carol services plus other singing events around Christmas, we have Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent), Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter – where we sing on both the Thursday and Friday) and Easter. There are other ad hoc services we are often asked to assist with. The choir is often asked to sing at Weddings and Funerals. The latter are likely to be during school hours, weddings are normally on a Saturday. There will be a small additional payment if you attend one of these.
We also ask that you commit to performing in at least one fund raising concert each year – to help ensure that the scholarship system continues for others to benefit from.
What happens if I am unable to meet my commitment in any month?
Hopefully if this happens it will be for a good reason and you will have had good attendance in other months. We would take this into account and most likely accommodate it. However, if you know that you’re not going to be able to attend for a while but would like the scholarship to continue we could discuss whether we can put it on hold. If you’re not able or willing to attend regularly for any reason we would need to discuss whether the scholarship is the right thing for both parties.
For further information or to apply please contact our choir director Robert Milner:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone – 07540 847599