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The Peter Chase Award

The purpose of the Award …

… is to give financial support to talented young musicians in Sowerby Music’s catchment area. The award is given to support musicians during their full time musical education at music college/conservatoire (e.g. Royal Academy of Music) or music school (e.g. Chethams). It may be given to younger students admitted to the junior faculty of a music college (e.g. Junior RNCM) or equivalent teaching centre.

Applicants must be considering music as a career and have a proficiency in a recognized orchestral instrument, piano, organ or voice.

The Award is likely to be ongoing to the end of tertiary education and even beyond to postgraduate education as appropriate.

At present, the Society is not in a position to entertain new applications but continues to support those already on the scheme

Sowerby Music is a music promoting society which since 1987 has organised monthly professional concerts in St. Oswald’s Church in Sowerby, Thirsk. Through bequests and the generosity of Sowerby Music’s Patrons, money is available to fund The Peter Chase Award.

Current holders Previous holders

Criteria for selection

Applicants must

  • be considering music as a career
  • be accepted by or at a music conservatoire or music school or be accepted by the junior faculty of a music conservatoire or its equivalent.
  • be living in (or close to) Sowerby Music’s catchment area. This is the Hambleton District of North Yorkshire and/or within about a 25 miles radius of Sowerby.
  • submit the application in writing to The Secretary. The application to contain:
    - name, address, phone and email details, date of birth,
    - instruments and standards attained, musical awards and experiences
    - purpose of the application and evidence of acceptance by a music establishment
    - a supporting broad financial statement from a parent
    - letters of reference from two of: the school’s head of music / current tutor/orchestra conductor / coach etc.
  • Attend an interview.

Applicants may

  • include a demonstration CD alongside the written application
  • be asked to audition

Application deadlines

By 30th April each year for decision by no later than 31st July.

Applications to be sent to

Graham Merriam,
Secretary of Sowerby Music’s Peter Chase Award,
1 Hawthorne Terrace, Bagby,
Thirsk YO7 2PQ.

Funding levels

The minimum award given is currently £500 per year. For funding to continue into second and subsequent years, the applicant will need to write to the Secretary outlining progress being made endorsed by a reference from the applicant’s tutor.
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Quid pro quo

The Society will endeavour to assist Peter Chase Award recipients in matters of publicity and would expect, at some mutually beneficial time, a concert performance within the Sowerby Music concert programme.

Peter Chase (1943-1996)

Peter Chase

Peter began his working life as a graduate chemist but a test-tube career was overtaken by his passion for music, which in due course earned him a nationwide reputation.

A boy chorister at the Temple Church who sang for the Queen‘s coronation in 1953, he went on to study piano, organ, harpsichord and composition at Trinity College of Music in London, where he eventually became a member of staff and was later awarded an Honorary Fellowship.

For many years he was sub-organist at the Chapel Royal St. James' Palace, organist at St. Peter's Eaton Square and musical director of several well-known choral groups in the London area.

He worked with, and was friends with, many notable musicians and was one of the most respected church musicians in the country.

On retiring to North Yorkshire he began the music-making that would become Sowerby Music and the formation of his invitation chamber choir The St. Oswald Singers.

He was a modest and unassuming person who regarded teaching as by far the most important of his many musical activities, whether it was students starting their musical careers or children taking their first piano lessons. Peter loved helping people to appreciate music and will be looking down on recipients of this award with great joy and the desire that their musical dreams will be fulfilled.