All Saints Margaret Street | Dr John Birch Organ Scholarship – Application Information

Dr John Birch Organ Scholarship – Application Information



 tenable from September 2015

Since its foundation in the 1850s as the model church of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England, music has been central to the life of All Saints. Until 1968 through its Choir School, and since then with its excellent choir of men and women, it has sought to enhance the celebration of the Anglican liturgy in Butterfield’s stunningly beautiful church with the riches of Western church music. Each Sunday High Mass and Evensong and Benediction are sung, and High Mass on major weekday feasts. The repertoire is wide: plainchant and polyphony, Baroque and Victorian, Latin and English, complemented by vigorous hymn singing and accompanied by a fine Harrison & Harrison organ which underwent major restoration in 2002.

Although the resident population of its tiny parish is small, All Saints continues to draw large congregations from across London. It is no Sunday-only church. Its doors are open from 7am to 7pm daily with Morning and Evening Prayer and three celebrations of the Eucharist each day to meet the needs of those who work in the West End. In this as in other things, All Saints seeks to remain faithful to its calling to be a centre of Christian presence and mission in London; a place of Christian teaching, pastoral care and spiritual guidance.

The commitment of All Saints to excellence in church music has been reinforced in recent years by the establishment of a Choir and Music Trust Fund, and also by the foundation of an Organ Scholarship, recently augmented by a legacy from the estate of Dr John Birch (Organist of All Saints’ 1953-1958) which we hope will benefit not only All Saints but also the wider Church.

The Revd Alan Moses, Vicar

Details of the scholarship The Organ Scholarship offers training to a high level in service playing and voluntaries, drawing on a diverse repertoire of Anglican canticles and anthems, alongside those of the Eucharistic rite, prepared to accomplished standards. It also offers experience in accompanying chant and liturgical improvisation, and opportunities to work with the Choir, under guidance. Within this framework there is the opportunity for the Organ Scholar to advance particular musical interests and skills, and development of liturgical discernment. Mr Timothy Byram-Wigfield, Director of Music, and Mr Charles Andrews, Associate Director of Music, oversee the Organ Scholar’s progress.

Terms and Conditions

(i)      Length of tenure

          For one year, renewable by invitation for an additional year, running 1 September to 31 August.  

(ii)     Eligibility

          (a) those in ‘gap’ year between school and university;

          (b) those undertaking undergraduate study in London:

          (c) postgraduate students under 25.

(iii)    Duties and Attendance

          Attendance is expected at all choral services and practices, including Christmas, Holy Week and Easter.

The Organ Scholar acts as the ‘Second Assistant’ in the Music Department, and in this context should be willing to carry out occasional tasks to assist in the smooth running of the church’s music, for example assisting with the Library.

(iv)   Holiday periods

          Absences after Christmas, Easter and during the summer holidays are arranged in consultation with the Director of Music, and in accord with the team. The Organ Scholar is expected to be present to provide cover during holiday times, but there will be opportunities for days in lieu.

(v)     Remuneration and other benefits

(i)      The annual remuneration is currently £2,460 payable in monthly instalments.

(ii)     Free use of the fine four-manual Harrison organ (1910) and the Song Room Steinway at agreed times. 

Applications: Please send applications to Mr Timothy Byram-Wigfield, Director of Music, All Saints’ Church, Parish Office, 7 Margaret Street, London W1W 8JG

          or by email to

Please include a curriculum vitae, the names of two referees, and a brief indication of the post’s attraction.

Closing date for applications: Friday 6th February 2015.

Auditions and interviews

(i)     Auditions and interviews take place during the last week of February or the first week in March.

(ii)     The audition will be conducted by the Director of Music and the Associate Director of Music. Candidates are invited to play two contrasting pieces, one of which must be from the Baroque period, lasting no more than 15 minutes. In addition there will be sight-reading and transposition tests, and the candidate will be asked to improvise briefly. The expected minimum standard is from ABRSM Grade VIII to ARCO, but candidates will also be assessed on their potential and musical aptitude.

 (iii)   There will also be a brief informal interview with The Revd Alan Moses, Vicar.

January 2015.