RCCORoyal Canadian College of Organists

Scholarships, Bursaries and Prizes

offered by the RCCO and its Centres


Examination Scholarships and Prizes

College Development Fund Scholarships

John Goss Memorial Scholarship

The Lorna & Murray Holmes Scholarship

The Rachel Joy Brownell Memorial Bursary


Calgary    Edmonton    Kingston    Ottawa    Toronto    Vancouver    Waterloo-Wellington    Windsor


Awards are made on the results of the examinations. In order to be eligible for a scholarship, a candidate must pass both the Practical and Paperwork examinations at the same session, and the average mark must not be less than 75%.

The Willan Scholarship

$800 for the highest marks in the Fellowship examination.
$700 for the highest marks in the Associateship examination

The Kathleen Williams Scholarship

$400 for the highest marks in the Colleague examination.
$200 for the highest marks in the Service Playing examination.

The John Sidgwick Memorial Scholarship
$1,000 for the highest marks in the Professional Diploma in Choral Conducting, to be applied to further studies in choral conducting. This will be given to the candidate on presentation of proof of registration in an accredited course in choral conducting within the following four years.

The Rollinson Prize
$200 for the highest marks in written work in Associateship, provided that the average mark is not less than 75%.

The Charles Peaker Prize
The prize consists of Volumes 1 and 2 of Organ Music in Canada and will be awarded to the second-place overall successful candidates in the Associateship and Fellowship written and practical examinations.

The Doreen Porter Prize
$300 for the highest marks in the test portion of the FRCCO Practical examination.

The Ruth & Ralph Barker Prize
$250 for the highest marks in the test portion of the ARCCO Practical examination.

The Heather Spry Prize
$300 for the highest marks in written work in Fellowship, provided that the average mark is not less than 75%.

The Wayne C Vance Scholarship

The Royal Canadian College of Organists is pleased to announce the creation of the Wayne C. Vance Scholarship. This annual scholarship will be awarded to the candidate from Ontario who achieves the highest marks in the examination for Associateship. In a year in which no candidate meets the requirements it will be awarded according to further criteria which demonstrate a standard of excellence in examination or competition. The scholarship will be paid from the interest earned on funds generously donated by Mr Vance and held in trust in perpetuity by the College.

To encourage organ study particularly among pianists interested in beginning the study of the organ.($500). Awarded for 2013-2014:
Cameron Adams, Windsor

Lydia Barber, Winnipeg

Mitchell Cox, Northumberland

Rown Duim, Northumberland

Lilja Lahtinen, Thunder Bay

Anita Sehra, Windsor

Dylan Summers, Winnipeg

Josephine Thompson, Thunder Bay

Matthew Walton, Edmonton


Awarded every two years in the even numbered years, the John Goss Memorial Scholarship is in memory of the late John Goss, FRCO, former conductor of the National Ballet of Canada and relative of his namesake, the British composer Sir John Goss. The scholarship of up to $3,500 is awarded to an individual for advanced organ study outside Canada. The winner must intend to return to Canada to pursue his/her career. Past winners have been Peter Nikiforuk (1988), John Charron (1990), Sarah Macdonald (1992), Andrew Henderson (1996), Brennan Szafron (1998), Craig Humber (2000), Jonathan Oldengarm (2004), Stephen Fraser (2006), Ryan Enright (2008), Donald Hunt (2010), Francine Nguyen-Savaria (2012), Sarah Svendsen (2014).

Click here for 2014 eligibility information and application form

All applicants must meet the following requirements:

Canadian citizen.
Aged 30 years or less as of June 30, 2014.
Member of the RCCO.
Associate diploma of the RCCO or equivalent or superior qualifications.
Graduate from a university, conservatory or college after June 2011.
Intend to return to Canada for the purpose, though not necessarily the exclusive purpose, of performing on the organ.

Questions should be addressed to the RCCO National Office, 204 St George Street, Suite 202, Toronto, ON M5R 2N5, Tel: (416) 929 6400, Fax (416) 929 2265, email: manager@rcco.ca.


The Lorna & Murray Holmes Scholarship is available annually, providing $1,000 to a student entering a programme of organ or church music studies at a Canadian University. Preference will be given to students beginning undergraduate studies. Applicants must hold membership in the College. A letter of application must be accompanied by proof of acceptance at a Canadian University, two letters of reference from people able to assess the candidate's suitability for the scholarship and a list of the applicant's academic and musical achievements and awards.
The deadline for application is May 15th each year. Complete applications should be sent to: The Lorna & Murray Holmes Scholarship, c/o The Royal Canadian College of Organists, 204 St George Street, Suite 202, Toronto, ON M5R 2N5.


Rachel Joy Brownell was born and grew up in rural Manitoba, moving later to the village of Port McNicoll in the southern Georgian Bay area around the early 1920s. She remained there until her death in 1999. She died just two weeks short of her 103rd birthday. In spite of the isolation in which she lived, she had a positive outlook and was highly motivated to learn and she gladly passed along her skills and knowledge to others. This annual bursary of $300 is given by her son George Brownell and her granddaughter Kathryn Brownell.
Purpose of the Bursary: To expand the musical horizons of organists from isolated communities by allowing them to attend the annual RCCO National convention where no option to do so would otherwise be available.
Qualifying criteria:
Current member of the College in good standing.
Preference will be given to applicants who live over 500 km from site of the convention but those who live closer will be considered.
May hold Service Playing Certificate or CRCCO, but not Associate, Fellow or other post-secondary diplomas or degrees.
Preference will be given to applicants who have never before attended an RCCO Convention.
Preference will be given to females over the age of 45, but male and younger candidates will be considered.
Deadline for Applications: March 31st each year.
Interested members of the College who qualify should write a letter of application to the Chair, College Development Fund, RCCO, 202-204 St George St, Toronto ON M5R 2N5.

Scholarships and Bursaries offered by Centres

Calgary Centre
The Calgary Society of Organists Scholarship Fund is administered by the Calgary Foundation which awards funds to Calgary Charities and endowments, community investments. Each year, 5% of the CSO scholarship fund is granted to the CSO to be distributed for scholarships. The CSO was able to grant 4 scholarships this past year. Rather than awarding scholarships to more advanced students, this year all scholarships went to relatively beginning students.
Isobel Dean ($300)
Lorenz Dean ($300)
Nelson Dean ($300)
Gabriela Nunez-Noguez ($300)

Edmonton Centre
Harry Farmer Beginning Organists Scholarship ($400)
Open to any pianist at the Grade 6 level or beyond who is curious about the organ. The scholarship provides up to 10 1-hour organ lessons with a local organ teacher.
David Fraser

Beginning Organists Scholarship ($400)
Open to any pianist at the Grade 6 level or beyond who is curious about the organ. The scholarship provides up to 10 1-hour organ lessons with a local organ teacher.
Faith Holwerda
Krystian Sekowksi
Edmund Wasowicz

Eileen Gordon-Bishop Scholarship
Aimed at working organists who wish to further their studies or take advantage of a workshop or other opportunity to improve their playing.
Cynthia Seanne Luk

Harry Farmer Scholarship ($1,000 – split between two applicants)
Aimed at more advanced organ students to assist them with continuing studies or other educational opportunities related to the organ.
Hyejin Lee
Grace Han

Kingston Centre
All scholarships are for 10 hours of organ lessons with an approved organ instructor.

The Sister Emily Doherty Scholarship ($400)
Jacquelin Corcoran

The S. Alec Gordon Organ Scholarship ($400)
Tommy Smith

The Catherine Brown Memorial Scholarship ($400)
Nicholas Walters

The Margaret McKendry Scholarship ($400)
Adam Roy and Karen Campbell

The RCCO Kingston Centre Scholarship ($400)
Catherine Helferty

The Kingston Presbytery Scholarship given by the Kingston Presbytery of the United Church of Canada ($400)
Juan Pablo Jou-Valencia

Ottawa Centre

The Godfrey Hewitt Scholarship $5,000 annually. Administered by the Ottawa Centre.

Godfrey Hewitt, C.D., D.Mus. (Cantuar), FRCO, Hon. ARSCM, died in 2002 at the age of ninety-three. Born in 1909 in England, in 1931 he became Organist and Master of the Choristers at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, and remained there for half a century, until his retirement in 1980. Famed as performer, teacher, composer, and organ designer, Dr. Hewitt was awarded the Lambeth Doctorate of Music by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was a Member of the Order of Canada.

This scholarship, amounting to $5,000 annually, was established after his death both to honour his memory and to increase the number of highly-trained professional Canadian organists, not only to serve as organists in universities, concert halls, and churches, but also to teach future generations of performers. Awarded only to Canadian students or to landed immigrants in Canada, for graduate studies either inside or outside Canada; the Scholarship is awarded each spring on the basis of application with letters of recommendation, a recording of requested repertoire, and a study plan for the following year.

Details of application may be found on the web site of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Ottawa Centre: www.rcco-ottawa.ca/scholinfo.html

There is also a Godfrey Hewitt Prize of $5,000, awarded as the Grand Prize bi-annually at the National Organ-Playing Competition at the RCCO Convention; the next Prize will be awarded in 2013.

Further details may be obtained from:

Frances Macdonnell



Anthony King Scholarship ($500)
Awarded each year to members of the Ottawa Centre who are planning a summer course, conference or other professional development activity.

EA Cureton Scholarship ($300):
Awarded each year to members of the Ottawa Centre who are planning a summer course, conference or other professional development activity.

Organ lessons for beginning organ students: (Two of these were provided by the Centre and one by the Presbyterian Church)

Arnt Loa Scholarship ($600 which can be divided)
Awarded during the Kiwanis Music Festival by the Kiwanis Club in honour of Arnt Loa one of the late members of the Ottawa Centre

RCCO Ottawa Centre Scholarship ($500 which can be divided)
Awarded during Kiwanis Music Festival for Organ performance

Toronto Centre
Francis Sutton Memorial Scholarship ($500)
Awarded to a Toronto Student who is a current member of the college, and who achieves the highest marks in Toronto for a Colleague or Service Playing Examination. Award amount is assessed annually (currently about $500) and is paid to a Toronto instructor for continuing organ lessons. In addition, RCCO member fees are paid for the awardee and the designated instructor for the following year.
Mark Ruhnke

Barwell Piano Student Scholarship (Value of the award is assessed based upon capability and need, ranging from $500 to $1000)
Offered to piano students with grade 8 (RCM) or higher level who have a serious interest in studying organ. Up to three awards are given on an annual basis. Funds are paid directly to a designated organ instructor.
John Lin
Andrea Van Pelt

Vancouver Centre
Yearly Organ Study Bursary ($300):
A subsidy to a qualified and /or experienced organ teacher, member of the Vancouver RCCO, giving lessons to a novice performer. The intent is to allow someone displaying great potential for improvement (but limited by financial means) to better secure beneficial instruction. Securing guidance for those with an interest in pursuing church positions or active roles in public performance will benefit organ music in the city, which is one of the central aims of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. To be eligible to apply, one must be: -A current member of the RCCO; An organ teacher. The Bursary must be used to provide at least six lessons (for a maximum rate of 50$/hour), which must be given within the college year. Funds do not carry forwards into following years if the Bursary is unclaimed, but teachers are eligible to apply in consecutive years whether or not the Bursary is given (and regardless of previous success or failure in applications).
Susan Ohannesian

Waterloo-Wellington Centre

Barrie Cabena Music Scholarship

The Waterloo-Wellington Centre administers the Barrie Cabena Music Scholarship. Its purpose is, firstly, to honour the contribution made to excellence in church music in Canada by Barrie Cabena, composer, teacher, performer, and secondly, to assist a deserving student(s) in the formal study of organ, church music, and/or composition at the post-secondary school level.

The Barrie Cabena Music Scholarship Fund was initiated by the Waterloo Wellington Center of the RCCO in 2004 on the occasion of Dr. Cabena’s 71st birthday. Contributions may be made to the “RCCO Cabena Scholarship”. Receipts will be issued by the RCCO National Office.

Full details are found on the downloadable application form.

Applications for the 2014 Barrie Cabena Scholarship will be received up to May 1st, 2014.

Windsor Centre
Beginning Organ Study: The purpose of this scholarship is to provide an introduction to organ skills for pianists who have not had organ lessons previously. The candidate may, however, hold a church organist’s position. Most candidates are high school students but we have had candidates as young as twelve and adults in their thirties and forties.

Second Year Organ Study Scholarship: This scholarship is available to graduates of the Beginning Organ Study Scholarship and provides ten free lessons. There is an application form and an audition and interview. The successful candidate must become a member of the RCCO. This scholarship may be renewed.

Continuing Education Grant: This grant is intended to encourage members of the RCCO who are new to the profession to further their study of the organ and service playing. The award will defray the cost of half of a fixed number of lessons (usually ten) which must be completed within a defined time frame.

Joanne Quimby Memorial Bursary: Joanne Quimby was a member of the Windsor Centre who passed away in 2011. Her family requested donations to the RCCO. Sufficient money was donated to cover the cost of several awards in her memory. This bursary is available to organists who have achieved basic organ skills, but do not have RCCO, conservatory or university qualifications in organ performance, are employed in a church and aspire to improve their skills. The recipient must be a member of the RCCO.