Choral Scholarships

No matter what you study, if you have the talent you can help form the professional heart of the University Chapel Choir and benefit from our new £800 choral scholarships (£1000 for organists and conductors).

Canterbury Christ Church University is delighted to offer twelve Choral Scholarships and three Organ/Conducting Scholarships. Scholarship holders may be reading any subject at either graduate or postgraduate level.

The twelve Choral Scholars form the professional core of the University Chapel Choir, and are supplemented by voluntary (unpaid) singers.

Christ Church is an Anglican foundation, sited within the ancient precincts of St Augustine’s Abbey, and the Chapel Choir sings a weekly service of Choral Evensong in term time, as well as representing the University on several occasions in our mother foundation, Canterbury cathedral (notably, singing services for Candlemas and Pentecost, and performing as part of the Carols by Candlelight service).

Once or twice a year the choir visits chapels and cathedrals further afield, to sing services. It is hoped that the tradition of annual tours will be resumed in the near future and that the choir will make recordings.

Organ Scholars, as well as playing the three-manual Makin electronic organ in the University Chapel, get the chance to play on the Canterbury cathedral instrument in the cathedral several times a year – at the special services and the University Graduation ceremonies mentioned above.

Choral Scholarships are worth £800 per annum and Organ/Conducting scholarships are worth £1,000 per annum.

Scholarship holders may be reading any subject. Applications are welcome from current undergraduate and postgraduate students. Scholarships are held for up to three years, with annual review.

Each year Christ Church offers at least four Choral Scholarships: one on each voice part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass; note that countertenors and contraltos are equally welcome) and one Organ/Conducting scholarship.

Each October we offer:

  • At least four choral scholarships (one for each voice type, SATB), of between one and three years’ duration (with compulsory performance reviews/reauditions at least annually)
  • One organ scholarship OR One conducting scholarship of between one and three years’ duration (with compulsory performance reviews/reauditions at least annually)

Scholars’ stipends are paid in four annual instalments (at the end of each academic term and following September graduations), in arrears. Deductions will be made for services and other obligatory events that have been missed without good reason.

It is preferred, but not essential, for potential Choral Scholars to have had relevant experience in a church choir. For all Scholars, good sight-reading skills are essential.

Choral and Organ/Conducting Scholarships are awarded by audition at the start of each academic year. They are held for up to three years, with an annual review (re-audition) in the spring.

Scholars are appointed at the start of Michaelmas Term, usually in early October. Duties commence immediately upon appointment and end the following year, with the September graduation ceremonies. Scholars will be appointed using the audition procedures below.

The term-time obligations for Choral and Organ/Conducting Scholars are:
  • a weekly rehearsal for Scholars only (i.e.: without the voluntary members of the choir)
  • a service of choral evensong every Thursday, early evening (preceded by a rehearsal)
  • performing at several ‘occasional’ events through the year: services in the cathedral, Carols by Candlelight, etc.; a schedule of these will be issued at the start of every academic year.

In addition, Choral and Organ Scholars are obliged to perform at University Graduation ceremonies (and preceding rehearsals) in Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals, under the direction of the Director of Music. Graduations are currently scheduled on two days in mid-September and on two Fridays in late January/ early February.

If additional special events such as recordings and concerts are scheduled outside of academic term time it is hoped that all scholars would make themselves available, if asked, on a voluntary basis. Any out of term commitments will be kept to an absolute minimum, and where possible, expenses for such events will be met.

All Scholars are obliged to take lessons from the excellent selection of visiting professional staff working for the School of Music and Performing Arts. These lessons, costing £300 per annum, will be paid for out of the annual Scholars’ stipend. Choral Scholars who are reading Music and who are first-study singers (who thus already receive vocal lessons) are expected to take lessons on their second-study instrument. Organ scholars take keyboard lessons while Conductors may opt for keyboard, vocal lessons or conducting coaching, with arrangements to be approved by with the Director of Music.

Candidates do not need have held a Scholarship before, or indeed to have sung with the Chapel Choir before.

  1. The number of Scholarships awarded will be determined by the quality of the candidates selected for interview and audition at the University. A maximum of 12 Choral Scholarships and 2 Organ/Conductor Scholarships is available in 2016. The University reserves the right not to award all Scholarships, if candidates of sufficient quality do not come forward.
  2. For Choral Scholars, the audition consists of the performance of one song (of the candidate’s own choice), sight- singing and aural tests, plus a brief conversation – total duration approximately 15 minutes. Note that the audition piece should be a lyrical song or an aria from an oratorio or opera. Pop songs or numbers from musicals are discouraged. An accompanist will be provided. 
  3. For Organ/Conducting Scholars:
  1. For the Organ Scholarship: the audition will consist of the performance of two contrasting works (of the candidate’s own choice), sight-reading, score-reading, accompaniment of a hymn and a psalm, and improvisation plus a brief conversation – total duration approximately 25 minutes.
  2. For Conducting Scholars, the audition consists of leading a 15-minute rehearsal with the choir, working on two pieces, one prescribed (and sent out to candidates in advance) by the University and the other, of the candidates’ choice, plus a ten-minute interview – total duration approximately 25 minutes.

To obtain an audition please complete an application form (see APPLY HERE below ). You should name a referee on the form, who may then be contacted by the Director of Music.

Choral auditions will be held on Wednesday 10 October. The date of Organist and Conductor auditions will also be around this date. 

The deadline for applications this year is 9am Monday 8 October. No applications will be considered after this date.

Fill in the online application form below and you will be emailed with an audition time on that date. We’ll include instructions to help you find the room, and to prepare for the audition.

Enquiries about the scheme may be directed to the chaplaincy .

  • Application for Choral Scholarship, commencing October 2018
    Applications will not be considered until October 2018. Note: Applicants must be a current undergraduate or postgraduate at Canterbury Christ Church University. The deadline for applications this year is 8 October (see above). No applications will be considered after this date.
  • My details
  • Name
  • Degree Level
  • I am interested in the following scholarships
  • If you are a singer what part do you sing?
  • My Referee
    Please enter details of your referee here. We may contact this person for a testimonial.
  • Name
  • Address


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Last edited: 13/12/2018 18:47:00