• 04 October 2019

Organ Scholars celebrated at special service

Belfast Cathedral was the venue for a celebration of the Organ Scholarship Scheme run in the dioceses of Down and Dromore and Connor.

The scheme helps provide and equip organists for public worship and scholarships are awarded annually by the Board of Management.

Prior to the presentation of certificates and commissioning at the end of September, a  Service of Choral Evensong took place under the direction of the new Director of Music at St Anne’s, Mr Matthew Owens. This included Bible readings by Dr Joe McKee, St Columba’s, Knock, and Mr Timothy Wilson, Jordanstown. Prayers were led by the Revd Dr Ian Mills.

Dr McKee and Dr Mills are two of the tutors along with Mr Michael McCracken, Down Cathedral.

The address was by the Revd Canon John Auchmuty, Chair of Down, Dromore and Connor Organ Scholarship Scheme. Canon Auchmuty opened his address with the words from Hebrews: ‘The Lord is my helper I will not be afraid.’

A privilege

He said that to be a part of worship is a privilege, connecting with Almighty God and the needs of individual congregations. Canon Auchmuty focused on respect, relevance and renewal.

His final comments reminded the new scholars to embrace whatever has gone before and build on it, to realise the rich tradition expressed in the liturgies and to give thanks for the opportunity to serve God through music.

Successful candidates who have now completed their three–year course and gained their Certificates are Caroline McCartney from St Columba’s, Knock, (Caroline was unable to attend as she was starting her music degree course at Durham University), and Kathryn Robb from St Cedma’s, Larne.

New scholars David Dunlop from All Saints’, Belfast, and Clare Kelly from St Patrick’s, Jordanstown, were then commissioned for a period of three years.

There are currently five second year scholars and six third year scholars:

Second year scholars

  • Glenn English – St John’s, Magherally
  • Jack McCabe –  Killinchy, Kilmood and Tullynakill
  • Sean Turner – Ballymoney, Finvoy and Rasharkin
  • Natalie Bell – Christ Church Lisburn
  • Tanya Hanna – St Mark’s Dundela

Third year scholars

  • Rebekah Wilson – All Saints Belfast
  • Callum Whiteside – St Mark’s Ballysillan
  • Jane Knowles – Broomhedge
  • Victoria Irwin – St John’s Whitehouse
  • Kathryn Murdie – Ballywillan
  • Amy Norris – Kilmore

The Organ Scholarship was established in 1990 when an anonymous benefactor, recognising the importance of the ministry of music in parish life and worship, provided a very generous endowment to train organists in the dioceses.

A Trust was set up and administered by the Church of Ireland Trustees and a Board of Management.

With thanks to Angela Kerr