Organ Scholarship


St.Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta has established a scholarship to assist a young musician in developing skills required of an organist to serve the liturgical life of a busy cathedral church in the heart of western Sydney.

The cathedral serves as the parish church of Parramatta, and has a busy schedule of Sunday liturgies and Solemnities requiring music.  The organ is used as the principal instrument for the 6.00pm Vigil Mass, 9.30am Solemn Mass (with Choir), 11.00am and 6.00pm.   In addition, there are Weddings on most Saturdays of the year and occasional funerals.

As the church of the Bishop of Parramatta, the cathedral also serves the diocese as the centre for diocesan liturgies,  and for services of diocesan agencies, schools and civic occasions.

The cathedral is a striking modern building, designed by Mitchell, Giurgola and Thorp, (architects of Parliament House, Canberra), and houses the magnificent English Cathedral style 3 manual 1898 Norman & Beard Pipe Organ (restored 2003 by Peter Jewkes Pty Ltd),  within its lively acoustical space.

Organ Scholar Training

The tradition of Sacred Music in the service of the catholic liturgy is a long and venerable one. Music in the solemn liturgies of the church is integral. The role of the music ministers is therefore an important one, and requires particular and specific skills. Within a cathedral setting, the organ scholar has the opportunity of developing these skills, and applying them by participating in and accompanying designated and diverse cathedral liturgies.

The work of the liturgical music minister offers many rewards. Personal satisfaction in using one’s musical talent in the service of God, the cathedral community and the city; the opportunity of working with other musicians, both amateur and professional; and the opportunity of improving one’s own musicianship and skills to a professional standard.

In offering the scholarship it is envisaged to develop the following:

  • Training of Organist’s musical skills
  • Development of organist’s liturgical knowledge
  • Praxis of Liturgical Music skills -i.e. accompanying the ceremonial of the Roman rite.
  • Music administratiion and organisational skills

Duties of the Organ Scholar

  • To assist the Director of Music and assistant organists in planning, sourcing, performing music for the catholic liturgy, including accompanying the assembly’s singing of acclamations, hymns and songs at Mass, and in accompanying the cathedral cantors, choirs and other musicians.
  • To perform solo organ repertoire such as preludes, reflection music, ceremonial improvisation and postludes as required.
  • To take an active role in other cathedral music activities, such as singing in the various choirs, or cantoring duties as may occasionally arise.
  • To liaise with the Cathedral Dean, pastoral associate, parish musicians or appointed delegate of the Dean,  in determining music program and commitments within the cathedral.

The Scholarship

  • Scholarship to be paid in quarterly installments.
  • A portion of the scholarship to be paid towards organ tuition and other associated training, e.g. liturgy  workshops, tutorial sessions etc.  The balance will be paid in cash.
  • The organ scholar will have unrestricted access to the cathedral organs for practice and tuition, subject to the availability of the cathedral.
  • The scholar must demonstrate satisfactory development and progress in his training.
  • The appointment will be for a trial period of 3 months with renewal on demonstration of satisfactory progress.
  • The Scholarship will be awarded by a panel consisting of the following persons:
    • The Dean,
    • The Director of Music,
    • A member of Pastoral Council & or/ teacher.

Criteria for Applicants

  • The applicant must be a student in Year 10, 11 or 12 or a tertiary place of education.
    • It is preferable that the student be Catholic (preferably Latin Rite but members of other rites  are welcome to apply  e.g. Maronite), or from a Christian background.
  • The candidate must have 5th grade or higher AMEB qualification (or equivalent) in piano or organ.
  • The candidate must have a good background knowledge of music theory and music history.
  • Previous experience with liturgical music, either at school, or parish is desirable, but not essential.
  • The candidate must demonstrate commitment in pursuing keyboard studies and developing accompaniment and performance skills to a level appropriate for an organist in public worship.
  • The candidate must demonstrate an interest in studying and developing skills in liturgy, and other areas of sacred music, especially in voice – ie cantor or choral music.
  • The candidate must be available for the designated Sundays and Solemnities (tba) and all services of Holy Week and Easter.
  • Applicants will be required to undertake a basic music audition consisting of aural, sightreading, & practical tests, as well as an interview with the scholarship panel.

Additional Requirements

  • Referees - The names and contact details  of two referees must be provided
    • a priest, a religious brother or sister or lay Religious Studies teacher
    • Music teacher

Remuneration and Entitlements

Based on an average of 3  Sundays per month  (excluding January) - $60.00 per service (including attendance at Wednesday choir practice, and pre-service rehearsal).  30 Sundays per Annum + Holy Week services.