The Church Music Awards of the Archbishop of Wales

The Archbishop of Wales’ Certificate of Merit in Church Music

The Archbishop of Wales’ Certificate of Merit in Church Music is designed to be a way of affirming good and faithful work done in the field of church music throughout the churches and chapels of Wales. It is an interdenominational certificate, and one which is aimed at recognising the talents and devoted service of those who may be organists, choir-trainers, singers or leaders of instrumental groups within Wales.

The Certificate aims to recognize those who are not professional musicians, and who have not necessarily had a professional training, but yet have done a recognisably significant work in the church or chapel where they are.

A candidate may well be:

  1. A person who has served as a church or chapel organist and/or choir-trainer for a continuous period of 25 years or more.
  2. Somebody who has been a good, skilled and faithful choir member for a continuous period of 25 years or more.
  3. A Director of Music under whom the standard of music and singing has clearly blossomed and been kept at a high level for a significant period of time.

NOMINATIONS

Proposals for the award of the Certificate should be made in the first instance by the Parish Priest or Minister, together with at least three letters of support from leading members of the congregation. It would also be helpful to have one or two letters from leading people in the area from which the proposed candidate comes.

Nominations should be sent to the Committee Secretary – address on the right.

The Committee will assess the nominations, also taking advice from the Bench of Bishops. The Committee itself includes senior musicians and composers from both England and Wales, who have particular experience and expertise in their fields.

THE PRESENTATION

Successful candidates will be presented with a certificate, signed under seal by the Archbishop, and also a medallion at one of the special services which will be held from time to time in a Cathedral of the Welsh Province. The presentation would be made either by the Archbishop himself or by the diocesan Bishop in whose Cathedral the service and ceremony is held.

We do look forward to receiving nominations, for so many churches and chapels rely enormously on dedicated people who work very hard through the years to serve the congregations where they worship.

The Archbishop of Wales’ Award in Church Music (A.W.A.C.M.)

The A.W.A.C.M. is a major award which is aimed very much at senior and professional level for those who are organists and choir-trainers.

It was originally created by Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones in consultation with a former Cambridge choral scholar, the late Mr David Blott.  For some years David was the Organist of Wimborne Minster in Dorset, and on his retirement he and his wife Margaret made their home here in Wales at Dyserth.  The A.W.A.C.M. was first conferred in 1997, and amongst those who have been honoured are the organists of several of the Welsh cathedrals together with the organists of a number of parish churches in both North and South Wales.

The Award aims to encourage and recognize the work of those achieving exceptional standards in church music, and who have devoted a significant amount of their time serving within Wales.

Initial requirements

  1. Recipients will usually be well-qualified musicians.
  2. Recipients will have achieved excellence in the performance and/or creation of church music in Wales over a period of not less than ten years.
  3. They will be outstanding musicians within their community, who are leading the music in a church or chapel, and the area where they serve. Like the Archbishop’s Certificate of Merit in Church Music, the A.W.A.C.M. is an ecumenical award.

Nominations

Nominations for the Award can be made by anyone who knows the work of the proposed recipient by obtaining a Nomination Form from the Secretary of the Committee, and then returning it (address right).

Provided that the INITIAL REQUIREMENTS are met, an unannounced visit to the church or chapel concerned would be made by one of the recognized Assessors (a senior and qualified musician). This would be followed by a subsequent unannounced visit by a second Assessor. The Award would be made following agreement by the Assessors, the Committee, and the subsequent approval of the Bench of Bishops.

The award

Successful candidates will be presented with a certificate, signed under seal by the Archbishop, and also a medallion at one of the special services held from time to time in a cathedral of the Welsh Province. The presentation would be made either by the Archbishop himself or by the Diocesan Bishop in whose cathedral the service and ceremony is held.

The Award also confers the authority to use the letters A.W.A.C.M. after the name of the successful recipient.

Since the creation of the Award, the guiding motto has been:

“Striving for Excellence”.

Customs in churches and chapels may vary widely throughout Wales, but the musician who achieves the A.W.A.C.M. must have taken the human materials and opportunities available, and then inspire music-making which is well above the standard of that which is merely satisfactory.

We do look forward to receiving nominations, for here in Wales we are blessed in having the services of many senior musicians whose distinguished and significant work deserves proper recognition.