Each September, Hereford Cathedral welcomes four music scholars to join the cathedral community. Over the next few weeks we will be meeting each of them to find out how their year is going so far. This week we are chatting to Paul Howard, bass choral scholar...

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Paul Howard and I am nineteen years old. I'm from Albany, NY and am currently the bass choral scholar at Hereford Cathedral.

How did your musical journey begin?

I started my musical journey as a chorister in the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys in Albany, NY, eventually becoming head chorister. After my voice changed, I continued my singing with the choir in the back row and came over to England to take part in the Eton Choral Courses. Before my second course, I came to Hereford to audition for the choral scholarship.

What made you come to Hereford Cathedral?

In 2011, as a chorister, I came to Hereford for a week in February half term with my choir and fell in love with the cathedral. Being able to sing Evensong every day was something that we weren’t able to do in Albany and I really enjoyed the routine. It was an experience that stuck with me so when I was presented with the opportunity to relive it for a whole year, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

How are you finding life in Hereford?

Its wonderful. Everyone has been really welcoming and I am enjoying being here in the city. Though people often think Im from New York City, I actually grew up in a rural part of New York State, so living in Hereford is a big change for me. Im enjoying being able to walk to the shops and having things to do right on my doorstep.

What does a day in the life of a scholar look like?

On an average day, I go to Mass in the morning before coming back to the house to get ready for the day ahead. Then I like to spend a few hours studying my music to prepare for Evensong that night as well as for upcoming services. As scholars, we are privileged to sing every day with an incredible back row of lay clerks, so independent practice is very important. Additionally, we are responsible for looking after the choristers before rehearsals as well as teaching the junior choristers theory once a week. During my free time in the evenings I enjoy reading and writing letters.

What has been the highlight of your time here so far?

So far, my personal highlight has been singing the Christmas Oratorio and being able to prepare for such a wonderful concert. My family has a tradition of playing the piece each year on Christmas Day, but I’ve never had the opportunity to sing it. Now being able to perform the whole thing, which is actually quite rare, is just wonderful and definitely an experience I’ll never forget.

What are you most looking forward to during the rest of your time here?

Im really looking forward to performing the St John Passion in April. Its a piece that I performed a few times as a chorister and then once as a bass. Delving deeper into the work is really exciting and Im looking forward to that a great deal.

What are your plans for after this year?

Next year I will be attending the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, a few hours outside of Chicago. Its a really beautiful campus and Im looking forward to studying either philosophy or theology as I continue with my music.

Our scholars will be performing at the Choral Scholars' Mass on Thursday 19 March, 12 noon. Click here to find out more about this event and the Lent Lunch which follows the service.