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.