Organ and Choral Awards at Exeter are unique: it is the only chapel choir in either Oxford or Cambridge, run entirely by undergraduate organ scholars, which sings three full services a week. This means it is both a challenging and tremendously exciting experience, giving an unrivalled opportunity to develop as a fully-rounded musician with significant managerial and organisational abilities.
The main responsibilities of the Organ Scholars are to maintain, direct, and manage one of the leading student-led choirs in the UK. This creates an exceptional opportunity to develop both organ playing and conducting skills. Other responsibilities involve choosing the music lists, organising tours and concerts (in recent years the choir has toured the East Coast of the United States of America, Malta and Sicily, and Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest), running the termly organ recital series, and auditioning new members. The Organ Scholars are also expected to foster the musical life of the College generally. In all matters, they are required to work closely with the Chaplain.
There are significant rewards for Organ Scholars, including:
- A small honorarium credited against college charges (battels).
- Excellent accommodation in College for three years (with a piano). The very spacious Senior Organ Scholar’s ‘set’ comprises three rooms including en suite bathroom.
- Free dinners after every sung service (Formal Hall on Sundays).
- Organ, conducting, and singing lessons paid for by the College.
- Additional payment for weddings, baptisms and occasional services.
- Practice and performance opportunities on the thrilling Walker organ.
If you are interested in applying to be an Organ Scholar, further details can be found here.
Academic Clerkships (known elsewhere as choral scholarships) at Exeter College are exciting and interesting opportunities to perform some of the world’s best choral music to a very high standard. Alongside a small stipend, the College provides all members of the choir with a free dinner after every sung service, as well as opportunities to earn extra money through weddings and special performances. All choristers are offered weekly singing lessons with the singing teacher, Carris Jones. Carris is the first female lay vicar at St Paul’s Cathedral in London and sings with various choirs such as Stile Antico and Tenebrae.
The choir is not only a musical ensemble but is also underpinned by a very broad social dynamic comprising of graduates and undergraduates from across Oxford, and beyond. Choral Trials for Academical Clerks take place in September, when candidates will be asked to perform a short piece and take a sight-reading test. The Chaplain and Organ Scholars are always happy to be contacted by prospective students to answer questions or arrange visits. There are also opportunities for school choirs to sing Evensong in the Chapel. Please do get in touch if you would like more information.
If you are interested in applying for an Academical Clerkship, further details can be found here.
In recent years the choir has toured the East Coast of the United States of America, Malta and Sicily, and Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest
Open Afternoon and Evensong for Singers and Organists
Each year we hold an open afternoon and evensong for prospective applicants for organ and choral awards. The next one will be held in May 2020.