The Directors of the Guernsey Music Bursary, a charity set up in 2021 to support young musicians going off island to further their musical studies, held a recital recently to showcase the talents of bursary recipients – past and current.
The recital, which was held in the Café at St James, was attended by many of the music lovers who have donated to the bursary fund and others who may be considering doing so.
The recital featured five bursary recipients, three of whom have already had one year of support, and two of whom have recently embarked on the first year of their music studies off island. All the instrumentalists have been studying at the Guernsey Music Service since their very early years.
- Benjamin Childs – Piano and cello, who is going to the University of Manchester to study music. He has been studying both instruments for the past 12 years and will focus on the piano at university. However, he says that the bursary funds will enable him to keep his cello studies going by paying for extra lessons.
- Louise Madden – Mezzo soprano. Louise has graduated recently from the University of Manchester with a first class honours degree in singing. She has now begun a position as Chorus Officer for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Youth Choruses.
- Annabelle Pizzey – Oboe. Annabelle graduated recently from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is now a student at the Royal College of Music and a scholar of the Royal College too. She says that the bursary funds last year enabled her to purchase an oboe which allowed her to play at a high professional standard and this year it has allowed her to study a Master of Performance at the Royal College of Music.
- Madaleine Vaudin – Flute, is also heading for the University of Manchester to study music. At her audition for the Guernsey Music Bursary she described her wider interest in different genres of music, as well as in music administration. She is also a keen singer.
- Jacob Wright – Violin, is now embarking on his third year at the Royal Northern College of Music and his second year as a recipient of a GMB bursary. He has found the mentoring element of his bursary particularly rewarding, having sat in on several rehearsals at Southbank Sinfonia and even playing in one of their concerts in St John’s Waterloo.
Each of the five participants performed one or two pieces from their repertoire, ranging from a Bach partita (Jacob Wright) to a wistful song by Michael Head (Louise Madden). The audience were highly appreciative of all their efforts and extremely impressed by the talents on display.
The musicians were kindly accompanied on the piano by music teachers Chris Holland and Daniel Madden.
Audience members spent some time after the performances talking to the musicians and hearing their stories of how the bursaries have helped, or are likely to help, the further development of their musical careers.
In order to build up significant financial reserves to ensure continuation of this very worthwhile scheme, the Directors are seeking a continuous flow of funds from generous donors who believe in the importance of a first class musical education for the wellbeing of the talented musicians growing up in the island and the benefit that their skills bring to the island as a whole.
Since the establishment of the Guernsey Music Bursary, generous donations have enabled two rounds of bursary awards to be made.
In addition to the financial support, which ranges from £1,500 to £2,500 per year, the bursary recipients also receive mentoring support as an integral part of the bursary.
Measures have been put in place for the bursary recipients to attend Southbank Sinfonia rehearsals and to interact with players of their instruments. Guernsey Music Centre already has a strong relationship with Southbank Sinfonia, a London-based orchestra of young professional musicians, and this mentoring arrangement is an important element of the bursary awards.