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Selby High School

Selby High School

Selby High School student David Critchley, 14 plays organ at York Minster

A new trust has been launched in York offering budding young musicians the chance to be taught by some of Britain’s finest cathedral and church organists.

The Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars’ Trust, a national initiative launched at York Minster, will see aspiring young organists benefiting from £1,000 of free lessons each year from leading organists.

It has been piloted in the North and East Yorkshire area for the past year in association with the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). The launch follows a decline in the number of young people involved in music in churches. The Trust aims to enable more people to receive lessons from professionally qualified organists as close to their home town as possible.

The first Young Organ Scholars have been tutored by the Directors of Music at York Minster, Beverley Minster and Bridlington Priory and they demonstrated their skills at the launch.

Among them was Selby High School student David Critchley, 14, who has been learning with Robert Sharpe, York Minster’s Director of Music.

Mr Sharpe said: “It is a great privilege to nurture new talent and share knowledge and ideas, ensuring that our great musical tradition is maintained and developed.”

Dr Martin Clarke, the trust’s founder and benefactor, said: “This is an important initiative in which the greater churches in North and East Yorkshire are pioneers. I very much hope that what we are achieving here in this area will become the model for similar schemes across the country.”

The Precentor of York Minster, the Reverend Canon Peter Moger, who is a trustee, said: “We are proud to have such a gifted music staff here and that we are able to support young organists at the start of their musical careers.”

Chris Cowell, Chairman of RSCM North & East Yorkshire and a trustee, said: “Our 13-year-old organ scholars ably demonstrate that young people should be leaders within the church. Today, we must believe in them, cherish them, challenge them, enrich their lives, give them new horizons and provide them with every opportunity to achieve their full potential.”

Anyone interested in a scholarship should show potential Grade 5 standard on the piano or keyboard. For details, phone Chris Cowell on 01937 558819 or email: chris.pam.cowell@hotmail.com