Double success for former St Richard's student

A FORMER St Richard Catholic College student is celebrating a double whammy after winning a place at Oxford University and a Choral Scholarship at Oxford's Merton College.

Anna Graebe, 18, took 'A' levels at Lewes college and is Head Chorister at St Peter's Church in Bexhill's Old Town.

She said gaining the scholarship at Merton and the degree course, where she will read English, involved a lot of hard work.

This included two sets of separate interviews, held at separate times, along with fierce competition at the auditions.

Anna said: "I'd had an idea to apply to Oxford to read English and decided that was where I wanted to go. My music teachers at Lewes College recommended that I apply for the choir.

"There was a lot of competition for the forty five places available, including twenty Soprano's '“ which is what I sing. I had to audition and it was quite tough going."

Anna is currently taking a gap year working at the De la Warr Pavilion and asked how she obtained two places Anna explained:

"Anyone can have a scholarship on top of a degree. Merton has the best mixed choir and is directed by Peter Phillips."

Peter Phillips is the founder of Tallis Scholars, who are reported to be 'leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music.'

Anna said: "Being directed by him as a student will be an ideal opportunity."

Anna has been with the choir at St Peter's since she was six years old and the musical opportunities offered by the choir have greatly encouraged her.

She holds the Royal School of Church Music's Gold Award with Honours; the highest singing award the RSCM offers.

Anna will spend three years at Oxford and, along with her academic studies, Ann will attend two rehearsals and sing in two services at Merton College chapel each week.

Anna said: "Roll on October! I am worried that I have not been in education for a year and it's going to be a lot of hard work. I enjoy singing and on top of my academic work it will be the best of both worlds."

She added: "I'm excited, but daunted."