Taking a crucial pipe organ exam is stressful enough normally, but Old Blue Daniel Greenway, from the Class of 2020, achieved the accolade of Associate of the Royal College of Organists (ARCO) in spite of Covid restrictions – and won a prize!
This entailed self-recording three pieces of organ music, usually played live at an exam centre, and taking an online written exam to be completed over a 24-hour period, which under normal circumstances would be two invigilated three-hour papers.
The three contrasting pieces ranged from the 16th to the 21st century, which Daniel played on Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Lady Chapel’s Willis organ and recorded on his mobile phone to submit to the judges.
Daniel, who is currently Liverpool Cathedral’s Organ Scholar before going to Oxford University as Keble College Organ Scholar, in October 2021, said: “I’m very pleased to have got the ARCO award as it’s the logical stepping-stone to the Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.
“There is no other exam like it, and I jumped at the opportunity to try, although I didn’t expect to pass. I’ve been lucky with lockdown as there’s so few distractions, which gave me a focus and I’ve done three intense months of preparation, putting in hours of practice.”
Although achieving the award for his music theory exam papers, it was an anxious experience, and he said: “The online papers are made harder than taking them in exam room conditions to compensate for you having 24 hours to complete them on your own. I didn’t get much sleep in that period, but it was worth it!”