Canterbury Chorister wins Willcocks Organ Award

15 year-old Becky-Ellice Creighton, a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral, is the Sir David Willcocks Organ Award Scholar for 2020-22. Becky-Ellice, a Year 11 pupil at Highworth Grammar School, Ashford, will study with Dr David Newsholme, Director of the Girls’ Choir and Assistant Organist.

Becky-Ellice is the fifth holder of the award which is administered by the Choir Schools’ Association (CSA) and made possible by the Sir David Willcocks Music Trust.  It is designed to help musically-talented choristers start playing the organ, and covers tuition over six terms.  At the same time she will be entitled to free Student Membership of the Royal College of Organists (RCO).

“I don’t think I will ever forget the exhilarating feeling of hearing the organ for the first time in Canterbury Cathedral”, says Becky-Ellice.   “Had someone told me on that Christmas Eve so many years ago that I would one day have the privilege of being the Sir David Willcocks Organ Scholar, I wouldn’t have believed it.  I am excited to start work and to do my very best to justify the faith that has been placed in me by Jonathan Willcocks, CSA and the RCO.”

First Rate Musician

David Newsholme comments: “Becky-Ellice joined the Canterbury Cathedral Girls’ Choir last year and her contribution has been consistently outstanding; she is a first-rate musician with un-failing commitment and enthusiasm. Her obvious talent makes her an ideal candidate for learning the organ, and I look forward to starting lessons as soon as possible.”

Simon Williams of the Royal College of Organists says: “We are delighted to support the CSA Sir David Willcocks Organ Scholarship by offering holders of the award complementary Student Membership and send our congratulations to the latest recipient, Becky-Ellice Creighton. We look forward to following her progress and supporting her in her studies.”

Pianist, flautist and now organist

Congratulating Becky-Ellice, Mark Cheesman, Director of Music Specialism at Highworth Grammar School adds: “As well as her many contributions to the musical life in the school, she also sings with the Kent County Choir and the National Childrens’ Choir. She is a Grade 8 pianist and also principal flautist in our senior orchestra and a member of the school Folk Band which has performed at the National Festival of Music for Youth.

“Her interest in this organ scholarship stems from her love of the repertoire she has encountered at Canterbury Cathedral. Without this funding it would be impossible for her to pursue this new avenue. She certainly has the passion and is totally committed to making music her life.”

Congrats to First Time Winner!

The last word goes to Felix Kirkby, the newly appointed Organ Scholar at Christ Church Cathedral Oxford and the first David Willcocks Scholar in 2014. “Being awarded the organ scholarship at Christ Church has been the honour and privilege of my entire life, not to mention something which I’ve been working towards for longer than I can remember. I doubt it would even have been possible without the generous support of the Willcocks Award, and I strongly encourage anyone who wishes to do something similar in the future but – like me – doesn’t necessarily have the means to achieve it to apply and (hopefully) outdo me one day!”