The annual Evensong of the Down & Dromore and Connor Organ Scholarship Scheme took place in Belfast Cathedral on Sunday September 23.
The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde, awarded certificates on behalf of the Organ Scholarship Board to those scholars who had completed the three-year course: Mathew Greenaway, Beth Aiken, Ronnie Drury, Vivien McCullough, Melanie Campbell and Mathew Greenaway. The sixth graduating scholar, Jamie Howe, was unable to attend as he currently studying at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.
As a new innovation, three of the finishing scholars – Mathew Greenaway, Beth Aiken and Vivien McCullough – gave a short organ recital before the Choral Evensong.
During the service, new scholars were also welcomed to the course: Natalie Bell, Glenn English, Tanya Hanna, Jack McCabe and Sean Turner.
The congregation included the scholars, their families and friends, the tutors (Michael McCracken, Dr Joe McKee and the Rev Dr Ian Mills), members of the Board of Management and members of the Cathedral community.
Several changes were announced following the service: The Rev Amanda Adams has resigned as secretary to the Board of Management after several years of dedicated work, and the Rev Canon David Humphries stood down as chair, having completed six years in that role.
The new secretary is Mr Timothy Wilson, Organist and Choirmaster at Jordanstown, and the new chair is to be Canon John Auchmuty, Rector of Knock.
Over refreshments, Canon Humphries thanked Dean Forde for allowing the Board to hold the service in the Cathedral and for his support. Canon Humphries also gave some words of encouragement to the new scholars.
The full list of scholars is as follows
Glenn English St John, Magherally
Jack McCabe Killinchy, Kilmood and Tullynakill
Sean Turner Ballymoney, Finvoy and Rasharkin
Natalie Bell Christ Church, Lisburn
Tanya Hanna St Mark’s Dundela
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
Kathryn Robb St Cedma’s, Larne
Robin Crockett Dromore Cathedral
Caroline McCartney St Columba’s, Knock
Those who successfully completed the Scheme this year are
Jamie Howe St Mark’s, Ballymacash
Ronnie Drury Bangor Abbey
Beth Aiken Kilbride
Vivien McCullough Aghalee
Melanie Campbell Loughinisland Parish
Mathew Greenaway Seagoe