Stella O’Neill
Organ Scholar 2019-2022
“The position of organ scholar at Christ Church Cathedral is an enriching experience both musically and professionally. Stephan Casurella and Shiloh Roby are both talented individuals in music and in mentorship, providing an ideal environment for a budding organist learning the traditions and music culture of the Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati. As a doctoral student juggling both strenuous coursework and performance requirements and a graduate assistantship with teaching and scheduling responsibilities, the position of scholar is tailored well to provide flexibility without the cost of lack of experience. Stephan Casurella is very mindful and respectful of the student’s schedule while also providing a well-rounded approach to all the experiences a student should have when considering a position at an Episcopal cathedral, including accompanying and conducting the choir for services, as well as additional musical opportunities. The instruments, C. B. Fisk Opus 148 and the newly installed Richards, Fowkes & Co. Opus 24 provide ample possibilities for repertoire from early to modern. These instruments also demonstrate how integral the Cathedral is to the musical scene of Greater Cincinnati. I would highly recommend the time working at the Cathedral not only for the musical and liturgical training but for the connections and experiences provided in the Greater Cincinnati music community.”


Sara Tobe
Organ Scholar 2018-2019
“The organ scholar program at Christ Church Cathedral helped me develop the practical skill set I needed to succeed as a church musician. Stephan Casurella always worked with me to make sure we were filling in areas where there were gaps in my knowledge or skills. The variety of music at Christ Church Cathedral provides opportunities to get experience doing pretty much anything you could want to do. I was able to grow as an organist, choral director and singer, and also had opportunities to learn other skills like orchestral conducting and organ tuning.

“The strong community I gained during my time as an organ scholar at Christ Church Cathedral was so important as I was navigating graduate school. It was so valuable to have such a supportive group behind me during those years.”

Applying for the Organ Scholar Program

Christ Church Cathedral is receiving applications for an organ scholar appointment during the 2022-2023 academic year. This stipendiary appointment, intended as a practicum for students seeking to pursue a career in sacred music, will require 6-10 hours per week at the cathedral (including two Sundays per month) in various aspects of the cathedral’s music ministry. Specifically, under the guidance of cathedral music staff, the successful finalist will gain experience in the following areas:

  • Playing service music, psalms, hymns, and voluntaries in cathedral liturgies on the Richards, Fowkes & Co. Opus 24 cathedral organ (III/58), C. B. Fisk Opus 148 chapel organ (II/22), and Juget-Sinclair Opus 40 continuo organ (I/4).
  • Conducting the Cathedral Choir, the Christ Church Singers, and/or the Cathedral Choir of Children and Youth in rehearsal and performance.
  • Accompanying the Cathedral Choir, the Christ Church Singers, and/or the Cathedral Choir of Children and Youth in rehearsal and performance.
  • Planning music for worship services and concerts.
  • Attending meetings relevant to music ministry.
  • Administering copyright licensing, assisting the choral librarians, managing concert logistics, hosting guest performers, and other relevant tasks.
  • Engaging in other areas of interest to the organ scholar, such as composing or playing harpsichord.

Application requirements

  • Applicants must be full-time undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking students.
  • Submit the following, postmarked no later than February 15, 2022, to Stephan Casurella, Canon Precentor & Director of Music, Christ Church Cathedral:
    • A résumé documenting music study and experience, including experience as a church musician, and listing three references, one of which must be a music teacher.
    • A brief essay describing why the applicant is interested in a cathedral organ scholar appointment.

Finalists will be invited to the cathedral for:

  • An interview with members of the cathedral music staff, clergy, and congregation.
  • An audition that will include:
    • Accompanying two hymns (of the applicant’s choosing) in contrasting styles.
    • Performing two solo organ works (of the applicant’s choosing) in contrasting styles.

In the event that a finalist is unable to visit the cathedral due to financial reasons, arrangements may be made to fulfill the requirements with an audio recording and online interview.

In addition to selecting a winner, the cathedral may select an alternate should the winner become unavailable, but also reserves the right to make no appointment.

More information about the organ scholar program or music at Christ Church Catherdral, contact Stephan Casurella.

NOTE: Stephan Casurella, director of Christ Church Cathedral’s Organ Scholar program, also serves as an adjunct instructor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. As indicated, organ scholar appointees are required to be enrolled as full-time degree-seeking students whose course of study may include taking classes such as those offered at the College-Conservatory of Music. Although Dr. Casurella is compensated by the College-Conservatory of Music, he does not directly financially benefit, on a per-student basis, from any students who are enrolled in the Organ Scholar Program and the College-Conservatory of Music simultaneously.