078 1601 1621
Church Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8QS
The scholar will be expected, as far as is suitable for his/her current standard and ability, to:
* attend Sunday morning services on a regular basis, plus other major church festivals, the frequency and exact dates to be agreed with the Director of Music but expected to be around twice a month;
* play voluntaries, hymns, service settings or improvisations as requested by the Director of Music;
* accompany or sing in the choir as requested by the Director of Music, with occasional opportunities to rehearse or direct the choir;
* attend choir practices in preparation for the services being attended, including run-throughs on the day of performance and any prior practices agreed with the Director of Music;
* be available, subject to any overriding school or family commitments, to play or sing with the choir for special events or excursions notified in advance by the Director of Music;
* generally become involved in the musical life of the parish.
The Parish of Esher wishes to appoint an organ scholar to succeed our current scholar who will be leaving for Clare College Cambridge this summer. The post is initially tenable for 12 months, and extendable by mutual agreement.
Esher is based in Guildford Diocese but lies on the south-western fringes of Greater London (three miles from Surbiton, three miles from Hampton Court). We are a liberally minded Anglican parish, very middle of the road in our churchmanship and with a strong musical tradition.
Music plays an important role in the life of the parish, and in addition to our regular liturgical music, we have a successful music outreach programme called Music on the Green, which includes a monthly lunchtime recital series, occasional weekend concerts and other special events including a Holy Week series and the Esher May Fair.
The music team consists of a part-time professional Director of Music plus an Assistant Organist, Associate Deputy Organist and a Parish Organ Scholar. Our recent scholars have won organ and choral awards to both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
The parish possesses an excellent three-manual Walker organ with fully modernised console, plus two grand pianos and an upright piano at Christ Church, and a two-manual pipeless organ at the daughter church of St George’s West End.
There is a robed adult voluntary choir of around a dozen singers (augmented for major occasions), which leads worship at the main parish communion every Sunday morning. Three different congregational mass settings are used according to the liturgical season, and a wide variety of anthems are sung, ranging from Renaissance polyphony through the standard canon of 18th to 20th century repertoire to more contemporary composers including Rutter and Chilcott. Taizé and Iona traditions are also explored. There is usually at least one substantial performance each year (either on Palm Sunday or at All Soulstide) of a relatively major work; repertoire in recent years has included the Fauré Requiem, Stainer’s Crucifixion, Schütz’s Seven Last Words from the Cross and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. Other annual highlights are the Candlemas service, held at Old St George’s (the original parish church behind the Bear Inn), and the Christmas Carol Service.
Over the past decade the choir has performed at Coventry and Guildford Cathedrals (with a Choral Evensong at Southwark Cathedral booked for November 2019), as well as singing a joint Choral Evensong at Wadham College Oxford, with a similar visit to Cambridge in preparation.
The scholarship is currently worth £400 p.a. and provides a subsidy towards the cost of organ lessons, which may be given either by the Parish Director of Music himself or by an existing organ teacher approved by him. In any event, the Parish Director of Music will offer full mentoring in church music skills and general musicianship.
The organ scholarship is available to anyone under the age of 25 who is living or studying within reasonable geographical reach of Esher and is able to play an active part in the musical life of the parish. Although recent scholars have been of school age, university students are welcome to apply.
Previous experience of playing the organ is not required, but a scholar will normally be expected to demonstrate musical aptitude and ability on another keyboard instrument if he or she is not already taking organ lessons. Some choral experience, and a willingness to participate in the choir stalls as well as in the organ loft, will be looked upon especially favourably. A flexible approach is very much the name of the game for us!