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 2018 winner of the William Lauder Scholarship is Kate Duffy.

Kate has just completed her A-Levels at Methodist College Belfast.  She is a regular soloist with the Chapel Choir at Methody, and has performed with the choir at Carnegie Hall, New York and Westminster Abbey, London.

Kate holds Distinctions at Grade 8 in both Voice and Piano and was awarded the Gold Medal for attaining the highest mark in a NI examination centre.  She recently achieved a Distinction in the ARSM Diploma in Vocal Performance.She was a recipient of an Arthur Beggs Scholarship from the Ulster Society of Organists and Choristers to attend Eton Choral Course in 2017.  She was subsequently invited to join Rodolfus Choir, led by Ralph Allwood.

On 20th July 2018  she travels to Helsinki and Estonia with EuroChoir 2018, joining 45 voices selected throughout Europe, as the youngest member and only one from the UK and Ireland. She is a pupil of Ms. Helen Aiken and Ashley Stafford, London.


The 2017 winner was Joseph Zubier.

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