CHURCH MUSIC is still dominated by men and boys, says Richard Nicholson,
director of music at St Catherine’s School, Bramley, near Guildford.
St Catherine’s, a girls’ boarding school, wants to help correct this.
Some of the girls already sing in the cathedral choir in Guildford, but the
school and cathedral also want to encourage girl organists.
The school is now funding two-year organ scholarships (one third off the
boarding fees) for sixth-formers, and there are already a couple of girls in
the school who may take them up, although Mr Nicholson is not ruling out girls’
coming from other schools into the St Catherine’s sixth form.
The school and cathedral together are also launching an annual weekend
course for female organists, under the patronage and tutelage of the
internationally renowned organist Jennifer Bate. Nine are coming to the first
of these in March, and Mr Nicholson says that, as well as being tutored on the
school’s own chapel organ, they will have experience of other organs in the
area, including a 1759 instrument. They will also learn more about accompanying
church music, directing choirs, and much else to empower them to take their
place in this male-dominated world.