Schola Cantorum

Click for Choral Scholars Terms and Conditions at St Nicholas Schola Cantorum

University of Galway Choral Scholarships are offered jointly by the university and St Nicholas Schola Cantorum. The Schola Cantorum was established in 2012 by St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church – Ireland’s largest medieval parish church still in use, and boasting a musical tradition stretching back over 500 years. These scholarships offer students the opportunity to be part of this tradition, and avail of unique opportunities for musical education and vocal development. Successful applicants will sing with the Schola Cantorum’s flagship choral ensemble Collegium, and take part in up to six liturgical performances in each semester. They will receive specially tailored vocal training and musicianship tuition under the direction of Mark Duley, organist of St Nicholas, director of St Nicholas Schola Cantorum, lecturer at University of Galway, and one of Ireland’s most respected choral directors.

Choral Scholars Michaelmas Term Schedule 2023_24             

  •  Tuesdays 19.00-21.00 rehearsals
  •  Thursdays 18.30-20.00 (including Compline)  
  •  Each scholar will also receive online one-to-one coaching as required and arranged at mutually convenient times
  •  Second semester dates to be confirmed by October mid-term


Who is eligible?
Commitment and enthusiasm are the most important qualities sought in potential scholars. All keen singers are encouraged to apply: although potential scholars ideally will have had some previous choral experience and have some sight-singing skills, tuition will be provided to develop these skills for less experienced singers. The scholars sing with Collegium - an ensemble of skilled singers whose choral experience contributes to the unique learning environment for scholars.

What is the scholarship’s value?
The funding for the Choral Scholarships has been pledged by the Galway University Foundation. The value of the scholarships will be €200 per student per annum, similar to the Scholars’ Prizes which are awarded annually to students who distinguish themselves academically in examinations of the previous year. Scholarships will be awarded at a special ceremony in February 2025 for participants who have fulfilled the requirements of the Choral Scholarship scheme in the 2023/2024 academic year.

What is the time commitment?
The Choral Scholars’ programme is based around two six week modules, during which rehearsals and training take place on six Tuesday evenings from 7.00pm-9.00pm in the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas. Five Thursday attendances are required, including singing at the ancient and beautiful medieval service of Compline in the church. At the conclusion of the first semester, the choral scholars also sing at the church’s famous carol service, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.  

All scholars are also given carefully graded musicianship training, some of which will take place during the weekly Tuesday rehearsal, and also online in one-to-one format at mutually convenient times, as required. 

How do I apply?
Places in the choir will be awarded upon audition.  Auditions will take place in Siobhán McKenna Theatre, First Floor, Arts Millennium Building, University of Galway on Friday 22nd September.  Times will be allocated prior to your audition.   

What will happen in the audition, and what do I need to prepare?
The audition will last for a maximum of fifteen minutes. You will be asked to sing a song that you have prepared and know well – it can be anything from a folk song to an operatic aria. Accompaniment can be provided if you wish – bring a copy of your music with you for the accompanist. You will be asked to sing for no more than 3 minutes, so choose an extract from your chosen song if it’s longer than that. In addition, you’ll be given some simple and short aural and musicianship tests. The only other important preparation is look at the schedule and decide whether or not you can make the time commitment. Scholars are expected to attend all rehersals and events.

Choral Scholars Terms and Conditions