Listen to Cincinnati Public Radio’s interview with Dr. Stephan Casurella about the cathedral’s choral scholar program. Note: The deadline for application has changed to June 15 since this recording was produced.
Our choral scholar program provides Cincinnati area high school students an opportunity to join the Cathedral Choir as apprentices. Successful applicants will receive intensive training in the art of fine choral singing so that they may begin the process of learning to perform at a professional level. They learn a wide range of repertoire, such as works by Tallis, Brahms and Howells, as well as spirituals and music of other cultures. For their efforts, they are compensated with a monthly stipend throughout the academic year.
Choral scholars participate in all the duties of the cathedral choir. This includes Thursday evening rehearsals, the Sunday morning Eucharist, monthly Choral Evensong, observances of holy days such as Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday and Holy Week, as well as other liturgies or concerts as assigned by the cathedral.
“When high school students audition for our choral scholar program, I tell them and their parents, ‘One of two things will happen: you will sink, or you will learn to swim!'” says music director Stephan Casurella. “It is so rewarding to watch the growth in those students who learn to swim. When one of our choral scholars started the program, she was an impressive young woman with excellent academic credentials, and she had been studying music seriously for some time. But she was not yet up to learning the vast amount of difficult music that the Cathedral Choir sings. I was so proud of the way she grew as a person and musician, and it was a joy to hear her voice confidently singing music that meant so much to her, making a real contribution to the alto section!”
To apply for a choral scholar appointment, a student needs to submit an application form; an essay explaining why he or she is interested in the choral scholar program; and three letters of reference. One letter needs to be from a music teacher describing the student’s abilities as a musician. The other two letters need to be from other teachers, members of the clergy or community leaders describing the student’s personal qualities, such as maturity, responsibility and social skills.
Applications must be submitted by June 15 for the program year beginning in September. For more information, or if you wish to apply a choral scholar position in mid-year, contact Dr. Stephan Casurella.