Choral Scholarships

Each year we seek to appoint  up to four Choral Scholars for an initial period of one year
with the possibility of extension on an annual basis up to a period of three years in total.

Generally, one scholar per part (SATB) is appointed and, where appropriate, the scholarships are open to both male and female candidates. Countertenors are also welcome to apply. An honorarium of up to £1000 is available per Choral Scholar per annum.

Our Church and Choir
Information about our large Norman Church and its worship can be found at our main site

Click HERE for an overview of our Choir.

Music at St. Mary’s
Music plays an integral role in worship at St. Mary’s. Although basically traditional,
repertoire is wide and covers a range of musical styles from plainchant to the present day peppered with recent works by living composers. A copy of the current music list is available HERE. Opportunities to enhance our repertoire include the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas, the Meditation on the Passion on Palm Sunday, during Holy Week and Easter and at other major Festivals and Civic Services
throughout the year.

There are occasional concerts and organ recitals and there may well be an opportunity to participate.

On Sundays there is a short Choir rehearsal at 9.15 a.m. prior to the 9.45 a.m. Parish Eucharist which includes organ voluntaries before and after the service, hymns,
an anthem or a motet and one of a variety of mass settings which are normally congregational.

There is a more informal Whole Family Eucharist on the second Sunday of each month in place of the Parish Eucharist. Members of the Choir come together again at 6.00 p.m. for a short rehearsal before Prayer Book Evensong at 6.30 p.m. This also includes an anthem or motet and there is Solemn Benediction on the third Sunday of the month. On the second Sunday of each month and at some major Festivals there is full Choral Evensong which allows the Choir to explore an enhanced repertoire including settings of the Evening Canticles. The Choir also sings at some weddings, memorial and Civic services from time to time.

In addition to the above services there is a more informal Family Eucharist or
Family Service on the first Sunday and fourth Saturday of each month at 11.15 a.m.
Choral Scholars are not expected to attend these services but may wish to take
advantage of the occasional opportunity to take part in them or assist with the development of  a junior instrumental group for which additional remuneration may be available.

The Scholarships
Choral Scholars help to enhance and support the choir of St. Mary’s, whilst
taking advantage of opportunities to expand their knowledge of repertoire and technique,
to consolidate their skills, and to improve their abilities. Assistance can be given to those wishing to prepare for university and other choral scholarships. Scholarships provide an excellent training for those wishing to gain practical experience as part of their
music studies or to improve their skills as a choral singer and/or soloist.

The Commitment
Under the direction of our Director of Music each Choral Scholar is expected to be
present at all rehearsals and services during term time, as well as major Feast Days
(Advent, Christmas Day, Holy Week and Easter, Ascension Day, etc.) and concerts which may fall outside of term. Scholars will be expected to attend all other choral Advent, Christmas, Holy Week and Easter services. Four weeks holiday during term time are permitted. If appropriate, opportunities for solo performances will be provided during the year. It is hoped the Choral Scholars will have a thorough involvement
in the music making, music planning and the life of this busy church.

Typical Weekly Timetable

Choir Rehearsal:  7.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

9.15 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. Choir Rehearsal
9.45 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. Parish or Whole Family Eucharist
6.00 p.m. – 6.15 p.m.
(5.15 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. for fully choral evening services) Choir Rehearsal
6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. Evensong

Particularly at major Festivals, Choral Scholars may be asked to attend additional
rehearsals and sing additional services. Some occasional work managing the choir library may be required. There may be other opportunities to become involved with ongoing musical developments for which additional remuneration may be available.

Person Specification
This position is open to all ages and gender. Applicants should have some experience of choral and/or solo singing and strong abilities in sight-reading. Previous experience of liturgical music is very much welcomed but not essential. Good self-management and time keeping and a passion for high standards of music making and choral singing is vital.

Honorarium and Fees
The honorarium for each Choral Scholar is worth up to £1,000 per annum depending
on age and experience. Choral Scholars may wish to expend an element of their
honorarium on additional lessons or other choral training which is available locally.

Application and Audition
Applicants should submit a CV detailing their previous choral/musical experience together with a letter of application by email addressed to our Director of Music  at You are welcome
to make an informal visit to St Mary's, to attend a service or to telephone to discuss the position or any further information you require.

We will acknowledge all applications and successful applicants will be invited to an audition on the basis of which a final decision will be made. Basic requirements will include:-
• Singing two contrasting pieces which, in the discretion of the candidate, best demonstrate the candidate’s vocal ability and technique.
• Sight reading of the candidate’s part (SAT or B) of a short polyphonic piece.
• Singing one or two verses of a hymn or psalm.
• Some aural tests may be required at our discretion.

Thereafter there will be a short interview with the Director of Music.

Contact details

The Director of Music
St Mary the Virgin, Eastbourne
The Old Parsonage,
Ocklynge Road,
BN21 1PL

Telephone: 07768 274461