Young Ilkley organist Henry is hitting high notes

Wharfedale Observer: Henry Websdale, 15, at the organ keyboard Henry Websdale, 15, at the organ keyboard

An Ilkley teenager has become one of the youngest organists ever to be awarded the Associateship of the Royal College of Organists.

Henry Websdale 15, is a Bradford Cathedral organ scholar and plays at two or three services a week.

The RCO examinations are the gold standard in organ playing and the failure rate is high.

Canon Sam Corley, of Bradford Cathedral, said: “We are thrilled with Henry’s achievements and by the mature way he dedicates himself to the role of cathedral organ scholar.

“He is an inspiration to musicians old and young and contributes much to the life of the cathedral.

“He has risen to the challenge of considerable responsibility at a young age and we are sure he has a bright future ahead of him.”

In his exam he played three contrasting pieces, took keyboard tests, sat six hours of written papers and an aural examination.

Henry, a pupil at Bradford Grammar School, has lived in Ilkley since he was five. He learned to play at St Margaret’s in Ilkley.

He said: “The associa-teship is a benchmark which shows the level you are at. It is really nice to be one of the youngest people to have this but it is a second really to just having the qualification ready on my CV and allows me to concentrate on my GCSEs and A-level.”

At 14, Henry gained the Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, for his organ performance, which gained a distinction.

Henry has already secured his place at Winchester College.

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