Chil­dren’s orches­tra scores at awards


The sweet sounds of a chil­dren’s orches­tra have been recog­nised with two Welling­ton awards.

Vir­tu­oso Strings Orches­tra, which pro­vides free clas­si­cal mu­sic tu­ition to chil­dren from low-decile schools in Porirua, scooped the Welling­ton Air­port Re­gional Com­mu­nity Awards on Tues­day night.

On Wed­nes­day, orches­tra founder El­iz­a­beth Sneyd was ‘‘still buzzing’’ af­ter the win which she said sent an im­por­tant mes­sage to the young mu­si­cians.

‘‘Awards are a sign that peo­ple be­lieve in you and when that hap­pens you can be­lieve in your­self.

‘‘When you be­lieve in your­self the sky is the limit.’’

Es­tab­lished in 2013 by Sneyd and hus­band Craig Utting, the orches­tra pro­vided chil­dren with free in­stru­ments, tu­ition and the op­por­tu­nity to per­form and tour.

The idea stemmed from the pair’s be­lief that money shouldn’t limit chil­dren’s abil­ity to learn a clas­si­cal in­stru­ment.

Cur­rently cater­ing to more than 150 chil­dren, it ran off the ‘‘smell of an oily rag’’ and re­lied on a team of vol­un­teers to keep go­ing, Sneyd said.

‘‘It’s the peo­ple that put out the stands, make the food, drive the kids, men­tor and fundraise. Ev­ery lit­tle bit counts be­cause it con­trib­utes to the whole and I hope ev­ery vol­un­teer feels they won this award.’’

It was a busy time of year for the chil­dren who were study­ing for mu­sic ex­ams and get­ting ready for Christ­mas per­for­mances.

The orches­tra took both the Supreme Award and the Arts and Cul­ture Award at the event which recog­nises vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tions and will rep­re­sent Welling- ton at the na­tional awards early next year.

Steve San­der­son, Welling­ton Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive, said Sneyd and the vol­un­teers em­bod­ied the spirit of the awards.

‘‘The time and en­ergy they are in­vest­ing in the mu­sic pro­gramme they run for the stu­dents of low decile schools in Porirua is mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence, em­pow­er­ing chil­dren and chang­ing young lives.’’

Other Welling­ton award win­ners were Youth­line Welling­ton, Foster Hope Char­i­ta­ble Trust, Rimu­taka For­est Park Trust, Sport Wainuiomata, Coast­ella and Treaty Times 30.

Welling­ton stu­dents Sathvik Panda, Lara Na­jim, Finn Mered­ith, Ben­jamin Hart­field and So­phie Reedy-Young were awarded $3000 Wild at Heart Spirit Award Scholarships for their vol­un­tary work.


The Vir­tu­oso Strings Orches­tra re­hearses in Porirua. Left, orches­tra founders Craig Utting and El­iz­a­beth Sneyd.

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