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Cathedral music director calling for first organ scholar at St Stephen’s

Ralph Morton Memorial Organi Scholarship launch event

In loving memory: Dr Ralph Morton’s widowed wife Cheryl Morton, Royal School of Church Music Queensland chair Adam Hoey and Cathedral of St Stephen’s music director Dr Andrew Cichy at the launch of the Ralph Morton Memorial Organ Scholarship on February 20. Photo: Peter Lopez.

MUSIC director at Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral Dr Andrew Cichy is searching for his first organ scholar after launching a scholarship in memory of his predecessor, the late Dr Ralph Morton.

The Ralph Morton Memorial Organ Scholarship, launched on the first anniversary of the former cathedral music director’s death, will offer a young organist a unique opportunity to develop their skills in organ and choral performance under Dr Cichy at St Stephen’s.

Dr Cichy has studied with musicians such as Annette Goerke, Professor Hans Davisson and Harald Vogel.

The organ scholar will receive $6000 over two years to develop their skills on the organ, sing in and conduct the St Stephen’s choir, and assist in preparing for the cathedral’s various liturgies.

The scholar would have access to a newly installed pipe organ in the cathedral music department’s office for private practice.

“Now that’s not something you get in a cathedral position,” Dr Cichy said.

“We have an organ upstairs in the choir room and it’s a good, sensitive instrument with mechanical action.”

Dr Cichy, who took up his new role this year, said one of his priorities as music director was educating young musicians in organ performance and leadership.

He said the scholarship would enrich parishes across the archdiocese where there was a lack of young organists.

“One of the things I’ve seen in just about every diocese I’ve been is an absence of organ students, and then an absence of leadership at the parish level in music, particularly among younger people, particularly in organ,” Dr Cichy said.

He encouraged parishes to recommend the scholarship to their own organists, and said the right candidate would be a musician with an “open, inquiring mind, a high level of commitment and dedication to what they do”.

Dr Ralph Morton was widely admired as a teacher and scholar.

Music director: Dr Andrew Cichy. Photo: Emilie Ng

In a speech at the scholarship launch, Dr Cichy said his predecessor’s parting legacy was not buildings or books, but people.

“People he encouraged, people he supported, people he challenged, people he mentored, people he inspired,” Dr Cichy said in his speech.

“It is this legacy of encouragement, of support, of challenge, of mentoring, of inspiration that I – and the choir committee and the cathedral – hope that the Ralph Morton Memorial Scholarship will build upon – inspiring generations of young organists who, each in their turn, will inspire and support others – and who will lead with the same spirit of humble service that inspired Ralph.”

The Ralph Morton Memorial Organ Scholarship is open to anyone under 35 years of age.

To apply for the scholarship, email the music administrator Karen Lopez on lopezk@bne.catholic.net.au.

 

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