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Organ scholarship for musical student at Bishop's Stortford High School

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Mitchell Farquharson
Mitchell Farquharson

Lessons on the refurbished organ at St Michael's Church have paid off for Bishop's Stortford High School student Mitchell Farquharson, who has won a scholarship to study at Chichester Cathedral.

The sixth-former, who is taking A-levels in music, maths and physics at the London Road secondary, beat fierce competition to win his place.

Mitchell has been learning the organ for four years. He took up the challenge after reaching Grade 5 on the piano and now finds the instrument more exciting.

He has lessons at St Michael’s Church in Windhill with Richard Carr, the director of music, and will be taking his Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Grade 8 shortly.

His ambitions for an organ scholarship began in 2015, when he arranged to visit David Flood, the

director of music at Canterbury Cathedral for advice and guidance.

Inspired to take a gap year, Mitchell applied there and earlier this month attended an audition, competing against other candidates from across the country, before being offered his place starting in September next year.

After his year in Chichester, Mitchell hopes to go to university to read music, and is currently considering applying for another organ scholarship while taking his degree.

Mike Cosadinos, the high school’s subject leader for music, said: “All the staff at TBSHS are very proud of Mitchell’s achievements. He had to undergo a rigorous interview and audition process against some fierce competition. The offer of this scholarship is confirmation of his musical expertise, his exceptional skills as an organist and his general attitude to work. We all wish him the greatest success in this privileged position.”

Rob Stark, assistant head and head of sixth form, added: “Gap years are an excellent way of gaining fantastic learning and development opportunities, whilst having a university place already secured. Mitchell has worked really hard for this opportunity and is a credit to the school. I am sure Mitchell will have a great experience and we look forward to hearing how he is getting on.”

• St Michael’s has a traditional three manual pipe organ built by A. Kirkland in 1888 and subsequently rebuilt by J.W. Walker & Sons in 1940 & 1972. A further rebuild by Mander Organs in 2016 cost over £350,000 and was funded by past and present members of the choir and congregation, the community, Viridor Credits Environmental Company and other grant-making charities.

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