Music undergraduate Peter Shepherd has been made a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists—an outstanding achievement given that he is about to enter his second year at Merton, aged just 19. Peter, who has been playing the organ since his days as a chorister in Worcester Cathedral, had made the FRCO one of his ambitions as soon as he arrived as Junior Organ Scholar last autumn, having already obtained the Associateship (ARCO) whilst still at school.
Peter explained what was involved:
"The RCO diploma examinations test a variety of skills reputed to be equally necessary in any organ-playing job in this country. In the Fellowship diploma, four skills are examined: performance, keyboard skills, theory and analysis skills, and historical knowledge and understanding. The latter two sections are taken in the form of written papers whilst the former two are practical. The resultant qualification thereby demonstrates both practical musicianship as well as an understanding in the theoretical side of the music that we make.
"It's a hard slog of an exam, but I'm relieved to have passed it."
"I'm thrilled to be able to show the fruits of the labours that went into preparing for the practical elements of the exam by playing the new Dobson Organ at Merton Chapel—one of the finest instruments in the city and a fantastic way to celebrate the musical side of Merton's 750th Anniversary."