The William Lauder Scholarship

This annual scholarship was set up in memory of founder member and former Honorary Treasurer of the Summer School, Mr William Lauder. Open to young local singers who apply to join the Charles Wood Singers and have not previously been members of the choir, it enables the holder to participate in the Charles Wood Summer School week free of charge, including an individual singing lesson with internationally renowned vocal coach, Paul Farrington.

The William Lauder Scholarship is awarded to the young local singer, who, in the opinion of the CWSS Committee, shows the greatest potential to gain from the intensive Summer School programme and further their musical career.

Those wishing to apply should accompany their application form for the Charles Wood Singers with a letter/email entitled "The William Lauder Scholarship", setting out reasons why they think they can benefit and how they propose to make best use of this opportunity. Please send to

The 2017 winner of the William Lauder Scholarship is Joseph Zubier.

Joseph, who is eighteen years old, began his studies in voice with Mark Chambers in 2013, whilst he was a pupil at Methodist College; now, having just graduated from Winchester College, he studies voice with David Clegg. He holds a fellowship diploma of Trinity College, London, having passed his Licentiate diploma, with distinction, in February 2016. He was a founder member of the Schola Cantorum at St Peter's Cathedral, Belfast, with whom he toured Paris, Rome, London and Edinburgh; he was also a featured soloist in BBC 1 NI's documentary Choirboys. Joseph has sung on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Ulster. Being a member of the Charles Wood Singers shows his having come full circle: he was a member of the Charles Wood Boys' Choir for six years.

A cellist, currently studying under Lionel Handy, Joseph was a member of both the City of Belfast and Ulster Youth Orchestras. In 2011, he performed as soloist on BBC Songs of Praise - which obtained over 3 million views - and played, in 2012, the role of Miles in NI Opera's production of Benjamin Britten's Opera The Turn of the Screw. Joseph is a member of the Irish early music ensemble Sestina, with whom he has performed: King Arthur - Purcell, 2014; Vespers of 1610 - Monteverdi, 2015; Dido and Aeneas - Purcell, 2016; and Messiah - Handel, 2016.

Joseph has an offer to read music at King's College, Cambridge, beginning in October 2017. Joseph thanks the committee of the Charles Wood Summer School for giving him this opportunity: the scholarship allows and encourages access for Northern Irish students to a genre of music which, otherwise, would be harder to avail themselves of.


The 2016 winner was Christoper Greene.

The 2015 winner was Caroline Woods.

The 2014 winner was Andrew Irwin.

The 2013 winner was Shamariah Bennett.

The 2012 winner was Brian McAlea.

Scholarship Holder's Review 2012

The winner of The William Lauder Scholarship 2012 was Brian McAlea. Brian is now studying music at Oxford an holds a choral scholarship at New College. He is also studying voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He writes here about an action packed week:

I was awarded the William Lauder Award 2012 in memory of founder member and former Honorary Treasurer of the Summer School, Mr William Lauder. Throughout the week, people recognised my face from the Summer School's brochure and approached me to talk about William Lauder and tell me stories about him. It was great to learn about him and hear how much of an impact he had on people's lives.

I arrived knowing that the week would be intense although I didn't realise to what extent this would be. The week started out with getting registered and receiving our music in a huge folder. I was excited for the week but when I first saw the amount of music that we would be getting through I started getting nervous and remember thinking, 'How will I learn all this music!' When we had our first rehearsal the sound of the choir was unreal! The standard of singing was so high and the volume was incredible. There was a very short time to learn the music before each performance and it was a new experience for me to be performing a piece after just running through it a few times. Having such great singers around me for the whole week who could all sight read really well meant that I improved a lot and very quickly.

The first concert of the week was the Opening Concert where I sang in the Victoria Consort, conducted by Malachy Frame. From this concert to the very last, the atmosphere throughout the week was terrific. My highlights were my lesson with Paul Farrington which was included as part of the William Lauder Award, Paul's seminar on "How the voice works" and the Gala Concert at the end of the week. Paul's lesson and seminar made me realise why he is nicknamed 'The Vocal Wizard.' He is a genius when it comes to the voice and I felt a huge improvement after just one lesson. The Gala Concert condensed the week's music and talent into one concert with performances from the Charles Wood Singers, the Charles Wood Boys' Choir and the winner of the NI International Organ Competition, Ben Bloor.

I feel very honoured to have received the William Lauder Award. It is clear that the staff who work behind the scenes of the Charles Wood Summer School work endlessly throughout the year to provide a smooth and enjoyable week for all involved. The week was definitely a highlight of my year.

Brian McAlea