Published on: Monday, March 20, 2023
King's Sixth Form pupil Liam A has secured a prestigious gap year appointment as a Choral Scholar at Sherborne.
During this tenure, duties will include record-keeping for music lesson absences, collecting pupils for music lessons, and setting up rehearsals in terms of chairs, stands and putting out music. The day is divided into four with a Choral/Organ Scholar taking responsibility for at least a quarter of the day. Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass Choral Scholars (and the Organ Scholar) are expected to be good sight-readers as the repertoire of both choirs is wide and varied, and in both cases rehearsal time is limited.
For the interview, candidates were asked to prepare two contrasting songs and they had time with an accompanist to prepare their performances ahead of the audition. There was an element of sight-reading taken from a canticle or an anthem and they were asked to sing a few verses of a psalm.
Sherborne Abbey Choir is made up of 16 young choristers drawn from several different local schools, and 12 ‘back row’ adult singers (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), who sing Choral Evensong and some Holy Communion on Sundays. The back rows are all volunteers with the exception of the gap-year Choral Scholars and a small number of singers holding Abbey Scholarships.
It is usual that successful Choral Scholars are drawn from those singing with courses such as the Rodolfus Choral Course, Eton and who will go on to sing as Choral Scholars at Oxford and Cambridge Colleges, or other similar universities and colleges. Previous Sherborne Choral Scholars are currently holding scholarships at Christ Church, Oxford, Clare College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Royal Holloway College, London, and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Liam said: "The Sherborne Choral Scholarship will enhance my musical abilities and allow me to learn universal life skills. I had to submit a formal application with my extensive musical background and everything I’ve done in my life that would prepare me for this job. I’ll be doing loads of what I love, which is music, and I can also focus on other musical aspects like piano and organ whilst I’m there. I also have another role which is to sing in the Sherborne Abbey choir at all their services, including Christmas and Easter."