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 singers from Northern Ireland applying to join the Charles Wood Singers for the first time, 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 2019 winner of the William Lauder Scholarship is Adam Reaney.

Adam is a student at the University of Ulster where he has recently completed his first year of study in Podiatry. He is a former pupil of The Royal School, Armagh where he performed as a regular soloist while a member of both the Senior and Chamber choirs. Adam is currently a Lay Vicar Choral in St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir Armagh. He also holds his ARSM diploma and grade eight singing, both with distinction.

He is a former member of the Ulster Youth Choir and performed Benjamin Britten's 'War Requiem' with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall, London. 

Adam is also a former Head Chorister in St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir Armagh and was privileged to have sung for several years with Mr William Lauder and so the award of this scholarship is of particular significance to him. 

The William Lauder Scholarship is exactly the sort of thing Northern Ireland needs: financial incentive for young people to engage in Church Music. The Scholarship allows anyone, regardless of background, to participate in what I believe to be N.I.’s greatest annual week of music-making, and I am so grateful to the board of the Charles Wood Festival for granting it to me in 2017.
— Joe Zubier: Vocal Scholar 2017
I spent my first year in the Charles Wood Singers as the William Lauder Scholar. The opportunity provided me with access to music that I had never sung before. The choral tradition became an incredibly important part of my musical education, and I was heavily involved with cathedral music for the three years that followed. The Charles Wood Festival is a must for any young singer from our country.
— Andrew Irwin: Vocal Scholar 2015

The Theo Saunders Scholarship

The Theo Saunders Scholarship enables a young organist to attend the CWFM week free of charge, working alongside the Charles Wood Singers under the guidance of the Artistic Director.

The 2019 winner of the Theo Saunders Scholarship is James-Anderson Besant.

James Anderson-Besant is one of the organ scholars at St John's College, Cambridge. In this role he accompanies the world-famous choir in its daily round of services under the direction of Andrew Nethsingha, and also assists in the training of the boy choristers. James has broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and choral evensong live on Radio 3, and especially looks forward to playing for St John’s’ Advent carol services later this year. His playing for the choir will feature in a number of upcoming CD releases, including discs of psalms, canticles, and a première recording of music by Michael Finnissy. James also enjoys conducting, recently organising and directing a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and he hopes to put on a St John Passion next year. He would love to pursue a career in cathedral music if possible.

James was a music and academic scholar at Abingdon School, and in his final year was Organ Scholar of the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford. He spent his gap year as Organ Scholar of Gloucester Cathedral, where he accompanied services sung by all four cathedral choirs, helped train the choristers and assisted in a primary school singing outreach programme. James's year at Gloucester was especially historic due to the addition of the first ever girl choristers, for which he played many services.

For seven years James learned the organ with James Brown, and he now studies with Stephen Farr. His interests outside music include engineering and eating.

James Anderson-Besant.jpeg
I benefited hugely from the experience of being organ scholar for the Charles Wood Summer School in two consecutive years. It was inspirational to work with musicians of the calibre of David Hill and Philip Scriven, and I also made some lifelong friends.
— Tim Parsons: Organ Scholar 2014 & 2015