There follow extracts from a paper written by Oliver King, Director of Music, presented to and approved by the PCCs of both St. Mary’s, Saffron Walden and St. Mary’s, Wendens Ambo and the SMMA Committee.
We are thrilled to announce a new organ scholarship in memory of Michael Swindlehurst. Michael was a loyal and committed supporter of the music at St. Mary’s and it is hoped that the scheme will both honour his memory and provide an opportunity for the comprehensive, holistic and professional training of a young church musician. Michael was also a much-loved member of the church and wider community and it is hoped that this scheme will provide a fitting long-term memorial to his name. The church already helps to nurture young musicians through various choral and instrumental schemes, though there is little provision outside of independent education for ‘hands on’ training of church organists.
The scheme will run annually from September to the end of July. There would be the possibility of renewal for a second-year, subject to mutual agreement and satisfactory progress having been made.
The scheme will be advertised locally in the first instance. We will advertise further afield as necessary.
The scholarship will be auditioned and will be reviewed termly. The Organ Scholar will be based at St. Mary’s, Saffron Walden with the exception of one Sunday per month being spent at Wendens Ambo.
Tuition on service playing, conducting and repertoire will be provided. The minimum expected standard would be grade six piano/organ (or equivalent). It would ideally suit a sixth former or undergraduate student in full time education.
The package will include organ lessons and mentoring from the Director of Music.
Payments will be made in termly instalments.
The cost of the scheme will be split four ways. The largest share will be paid by the SMMA, with three other equal shares paid by: 1) PCC of St. Mary’s, Saffron Walden, 2) PCC of St. Mary’s, Wendens Ambo and 3) a one-off collection in Michael’s memory. This share may likely be taken over by a private sponsor in due course though the name of the scholarship will, of course, remain the same.
Full details will be made available to all applicants when the post is advertised later this year.
It is proposed that special collections will be taken to support this scholarship for three weeks over the Easter period. If readers wish to contribute please make donations via the Parish Office, labelled ‘For the Michael Swindlehurst Organ Scholarship’. There will also be publicity in the local press to enable Michael’s many friends throughout the community to contribute in his memory.