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 was 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 travelled 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 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 2018 winner of the Theo Saunders Scholarship was Donal McCann.

Donal is 18 years old and is currently in his final year of A level studies at Eton College. He previously attended Methodist College where he accompanied award-winning choirs. In 2008 he joined St. Peter's Cathedral Schola Cantorum Belfast, and by 2011 he had achieved grade 8 with distinction in piano, organ and voice. He was the organ scholar in St. George's Parish Church Belfast from 2013 to 2015. In 2012 Donal began studying piano with Anthony Byrne and organ with Professor Gerard Gillen in Dublin. Aged 13, he became the youngest ever winner of the advanced organ class in the Dublin Feis Ceoil. Donal attended the Haarlem Young Talents course in 2012 and 2014, with tutors including Olivier Latry and Lorenzo Ghielmi.

In 2015, performed Saint-Saens' 'Organ' Symphony with the Ulster Youth Orchestra in Derry's Guildhall, and Belfast's Ulster Hall, and also recently performed a Handel organ concerto with the Ulster Orchestra in Armagh Cathedral. He has given recitals around the UK, including in Hereford as part of the Three Choirs Festival, and in Southwark Cathedral. Donal passed the ARCO examination in February 2015, achieving multiple prizes. The following year he obtained FRCO, as well as the Limpus Prize for the highest practical mark. In 2015 Donal obtained the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Scholarship to study in Eton College, to study organ with David Goode. Donal has received a conditional offer to study music in King's College Cambridge, where he has been elected organ scholar, beginning in October 2017.

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