In an exciting new link between Galway’s university and its ancient collegiate church, up to twenty NUI Galway students are awarded annual choral scholarships by the university to take part in the Schola Cantorum programme. There are annual auditions for potential scholars at the beginning of the academic year, and successful candidates then join a small high-achieving chamber ensemble which rehearses twice weekly during the two short choral semesters and sings the ancient and beautiful monastic service of Compline on Thursday evenings in a candlelit church. The Choral Scholars also sing at events on campus, including concert appearances as part of the Arts in Action programme.
There are also limted places within the group for non-NUI Galway students, and in the last year, a new relationship has been forged with Galway Technical Institute, with two GTI students taking part in the programme.
The repertoire covered in the Choral Scholars’ programme varies according to the makeup of the group in any given year, but usually includes plainsong, sixteenth-century polyphony, contemporary Irish works, and non-liturgical music in a wide range of styles.
Like all the other Schola Cantorum ensembles, tuition in essential skills such as sight reading and vocal training is built into the Choral Scholars’ programme. Whilst previous choral experience is desirable it is not essential. Information about the audition process can be found on the NUI Galway website.