The Trust is empowered to make any awards that it considers appropriate within its legally defined purpose.
The Trust’s activities for 2020/21 were curtailed by the Covid epidemic. However, the Trust was able to provide a 50% contribution to the tuition costs of four scholars and to match-fund Swansea University with regard to two awards, Swansea St Mary’s having match-funded the other two awards.
It is too early to measure the success of past awards. However, it is indicative that of the first cohort of awards, all recipients have continued either as returning participants in the award scheme or have gone on to participate in musical performances in other choirs. For example, one former scholar is a member of Liverpool Cathedral Choir.
Additionally, a younger person attending Secondary school came to the notice of the Trust. She was an aspiring musician displaying musical talent and studying music at her school. Unfortunately the family’s resources were such that it was unlikely that she would have been able to afford the costs of additional tuition in music. The Trust was able to support her by meeting those costs.
For 2021/2022, the Trust proposes that the total number of scholars should be increased to 6. The Trust intends to continue its contribution to the tuition costs of each scholar and to match-fund Swansea University in funding 4 scholars.
Looking further into the future, the Trust hopes that in addition to achieving a balanced mixed-voice ensemble of 8 scholars, it may be possible to engage with schools and sixth-form colleges to form a Junior Chamber Choir for public performances.
Below, three current choral scholars relate their experiences of the award scheme.
Being a choral scholar has been a great way of developing as a singer and sharing the sheer joy of music making with a friendly and welcoming church community. It has been varied: singing with the full choir; joining with the Gower Chorale for their Messiah; some solo opportunities; and more recently singing with the other choral scholars in a COVID safe government approved way.
William Playle-de Vries
Having been a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral and a music scholar at Uppingham School, I was also a member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain
Now at Swansea University, I am delighted to be a Choral Scholar. This involves singing with the choir at St Mary’s and studying with the Director of Music, Dr William Reynolds. I have been able to participate in their concerts and was the soloist for Gower Chorale’s performance of the Chichester Psalms in 2019
I’m a third year applied medical sciences student at Swansea university! I love being able to keep up my singing skills and have the full support from St Mary’s to continue with all my musical endeavours, whilst studying my degree. I competed at the Llangollen national eisteddfod in 2018 and won first prize in my classes!