Bristol Pupil Holds Willcocks Organ Scholarship

13 year-old Ida Hayes, a pupil at Bristol Cathedral Choir School, is learning to play the organ, thanks to a scholarship from the David Willcocks Music Trust. Ida is a cathedral chorister and also plays the piano and bassoon.

She started lessons last September with Cathedral Organist and Master of the Choristers, Mark Lee, who says: “Ida already had good keyboard skills, but has worked hard on mastering both the use of the pedals in their own right, and together with the manuals. She has been using the David Sanger Tutor (Vol 1) and has covered a great deal of ground, mastering many of the basics. More recently she has been working on music by J S Bach (Ich Ruf zu Dir and the Prelude in F, from the Eight Short Preludes) and has completed both of these. Some 18th century manual voluntaries have been added to extend her feel for the attack and release on the organ, and help her general dexterity.

“In all, some very good work by Ida, who has a natural feel for the organ, and the promise of more to come.”

Future plans include more diversity in repertoire, moving into some Romantic repertoire, and more J S Bach.

The award, worth £750 per annum, is available for a musically-talented chorister who wishes to play the organ as an additional instrument but is unable to do so for financial reasons. It covers tuition for three terms a year until the holder ceases singing in the choir.

In addition, Ida has also enjoyed free Student Membership of the Royal College of Organists and she was able to attend an RCO day event last Autumn.

“Learning the organ is hard but really interesting. I didn’t think it would be so hard because I already played the piano but it is still really cool. I don’t know any other instrument where you use your feet so much, so that is exciting. I like being able to change the sounds I make with the stops, and playing something that is so loud, even louder than the bassoon, because everybody is going to sit up and listen. I love being in control of such a big instrument – the four manuals and all those stops!” says Ida.