On Wednesday 16th November, I took the train down to Portsmouth to audition for the Michael James Organ Scholarship, which is held jointly between Portsmouth Cathedral and Portsmouth Grammar School. It is designed for students taking a year out between Sixth Form and university, running from September to July.
The audition was quite different to anything I had done before; although the playing side was familiar to me, I also had interviews with the Deputy Head and Bursar of the school, as the post involves some teaching assistant work there. It was my first experience of a real job interview - a bit of a daunting prospect, but my interviewers were both very friendly.
I then went to the Cathedral itself to do the organ side of the audition. Playing for an audition isn't quite like playing in an exam or a concert, especially when the result is as important as this was to me; however, I found myself surprisingly calm, and was able to enjoy the experience of playing the organ - a three-manual, 60-stop instrument - in the excellent acoustic of the building.
I was delighted when David Price, the organist at the Cathedral, phoned me that same evening to say that they wanted to offer me the post. I shall be living in Portsmouth for the year, playing at around three services a week in the Cathedral and performing various duties in the grammar school. It will be an excellent opportunity for me to gain experience in both my organ playing and my academic pursuits.
David Harris, Year 12