Choral Scholarships

The St Mary's Choir choral scholar scheme, begun in January 2015, has had a wonderfully positive impact on the musical and social life of the church choir. Inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of the original three scholars, the Wimbledon Youth Choir ( was formed in September 2015, and now rehearses in St Mary's on Sunday afternoons at 4pm. Choral scholars come to Friday night rehearsals (7:45-9:15pm) and sing for one or two Sunday services, most often at evensong (time commitment 5:30-7:30pm) as well as taking part in the two annual concerts - in 2016/17 Durufle Requiem and Bach St Matthew Passion - with professional orchestras. Singing an ambitious programme of Anglican church music in an excellent church choir of experienced adults is an excellent training for aspiring university choral scholars, but also great fun for its own sake. The value of the scholarship is £500. Choral scholars are generally sixth-form aged, although younger teenagers and those on gap-years can also be considered. You can write to Max () any time to arrange an audition or for further details.

Hugo Williams - organ scholar

I currently take organ lessons with Carl Jackson at King's College School Wimbledon and was previously organ scholar at St Mary's Church Barnes, particularly enjoying improvisation. Being an organ scholar here offers invaluable experience accompanying and performing, and gives me access to a large instrument on which to practice. The choir is very friendly and singing with them is a great way to improve aural skills. As a pianist, I perform frequently in both classical and jazz settings, both as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. I also study Clarinet with David Campbell, and give concerts regularly in Barbican with the London School's Symphony Orchestra. Having taken lessons with its Artistic Director, Peter Ash, I have become a keen conductor, rehearsing and performing Haydn's Trumpet Concerto for performances in the Mendelssohn Haus, Leipzig, and in London; I also direct the KCS Partnership Choir. I am a regular concert-goer, with a particular interest in 20th century and contemporary classical music and have a passion for German opera.

Lizzie Robbings - choral scholar

Singing in choirs has always been an important part of my life. After being a chorister for many years at Guildford Cathedral, I was keen to continue choral singing and was delighted to be invited to become a Choral Scholar at St Mary's. Surrounded by people of a variety of ages and professions, I am continually inspired by the choir's enthusiasm and passion for music. The experience of a wide range of challenging repertoire has strengthened and developed my sight-reading and the many opportunities that St Mary's offers – from singing the St Matthew's Passion with a baroque orchestra to singing close harmony with other choral scholars - has been a highlight of my year. I am currently in my last year at Tiffin Girls' School and have decided to take a gap year before university. With the intention to study music further, St Mary's has played a unique role in shaping my musicianship and my love for choral singing.

Hannah Cline

Living in Wimbledon, I studied at Tiffin Girls' School from 2009 to 2016, participating in a wide variety of vocal ensembles as well as running and arranging for the TGS A Cappella Choir. Joining St Mary's in January 2015 as soprano choral scholar, I have loved every aspect of the experience. The choir is constantly challenged with a wide range of difficult repertoire, transforming my sight-reading abilities and widening my musical awareness. However, the best part of the St Mary's choir is its brilliant and thriving social backbone, from the weekly post-rehearsal pub trip to the incredible tour to Bavaria in July 2016. The choir has become a second family to me, with a fascinating variety of ages, professions and backgrounds, and many of the singers I have met through St Mary's are now my closest friends. From October 2016, I will be reading English Literature at Keble, Oxford with a choral scholarship, but will be back during the holidays to sing and see everyone!

Jason Ching

Having been a chorister from a young age, singing in choirs has always been a big part of my life. Being part of a large group, all with the same objective of creating a beautiful sound through melody and harmony, is an experience and feeling like no other. Here at St Mary's, I have found singing in the choir a challenging and enjoyable experience. As a choir, we sing a lot of familiar anglican church music for our Sunday services but we do also occasionally perform unfamiliar, contemporary repertoire (under the discretion of our tyrannical choirmaster!). Having rehearsals on Friday evenings I think is a great way for everybody in the choir to end their working week and move on into the weekend (especially with pub crawls after rehearsals!). As well as our weekly services, throughout the year, we perform large scale choral works in concerts, usually with orchestral instruments. As well as singing in the choir, I have had opportunities to accompany, conduct, and lead sectional rehearsals which has helped develop all round musicianship.

Bethany Reeves

I currently study at Putney High School and recently won this year's Wandsworth Young Musician of the Year. Having achieved grade 8 distinctions in 6 instruments, I am a keen performer and composer, with compositions being performed by various orchestras, including the Royal Opera House Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Pappano. As well as playing and singing in them, I regularly direct chamber ensembles and a cappella groups, and accompany all my school choirs, in addition to often accompanying Wimbledon Youth Choir and the St Mary's Choir. Being the organ scholar at St. Mary's has given me the opportunity to explore a wide variety of choral repertoire, as well as allowing me to gain experience in playing the organ for services, in both accompanimental and solo roles. The friendships I've formed within the choir are invaluable, and our recent choir tour to Germany was without a doubt one of the best trips I've ever been on! I have been offered an Organ Scholarship to Brasenose College, starting in October 2017.

Charlie Broad

Whilst singing in the school choir at Eton College kept me busy during the term, I'd always wanted somewhere to go during the holidays. I contacted Max to arrange for him to hear me and after he'd done this he was able to offer me a place. It's a great opportunity to meet people as the social side is fantastic, with trips to the pub after rehearsals on Fridays a regular occurrence. As well as this, singing in a smaller choir has improved my confidence and my sight-reading has certainly improved. I plan to apply for a choral scholarship to St John's College Cambridge, and am certain that, having spent time in St Mary's, I stand in better stead than before. I would thoroughly recommend sending Max an email if you want to join a friendly, high-quality group led by a very talented musician.

Emma Sibbald

I've just recently joined St Mary's as a choral scholar and have loved every moment so far! I'm in my last year at More House School, where I'm currently studying for my A Levels. As well as being in the choir, I am a keen handbell ringer and I have also co-founded a youth Chamber Choir that performs in concerts around the country. I am so excited to get involved with all the different aspects of music at St Mary's with the lovely people here - it's going to be a great year!