Our Benslow Borrowers of the Month for August are 11 year old Madeleine Jones from Suffolk and 9 year old Iliana Graham. The hard work and commitment that both these young ladies have shown have made wonderful reading this month and the Loan Scheme is so pleased and proud to read their news.
Very proud mum Amanda Jones wrote to us this month telling us about Madeleine’s outstanding achievement – from Beginner to Grade 8 Distinction in just 4 years:
“Madeleine Jones took up the violin aged 8, in Year 3 of Great Barton Primary School, when Suffolk county music service offered lessons. At 11, at the end of Year 6, she has just received her Grade 8 violin distinction. In 3 and a half years, she completed all her exams at distinction level and is now looking forward to the National Children's Orchestra under 11's summer residential in Dorset and starting at Ipswich School as a music scholar. Since taking up the violin, she has been a member of NCOGB, NSSO, Suffolk Young Strings, and Oasby Music Group in Lincolnshire, where she has lessons with Laura Gardiner. She has had the opportunity to attend workshops with Nicola Benedetti, Tasmin Little and wonderful conductors and tutors from RAM and RCM. She has performed solo pieces on the stage at Snape Maltings concert hall with Suffolk Young Strings, and in February 2020 she will go on an ensemble tour to Holland with Oasby Music Group. She will join the Symphony and Chamber orchestras of Ipswich School when she starts next month. Madeleine has been fortunate to borrow two violins from Benslow, and particularly loves her current violin, a Bela Szepessy violin dating from 1900. She thought it would be difficult to choose her second violin, but within minutes of playing Brahms 3rd movement from Sonata in A, Madeleine knew it was the perfect violin for her. She thinks having such a fabulous instrument to play has helped develop her sound and was particularly helpful for the challenge of her grade 8 pieces for which she achieved marks of 29/28/28 out of 30. Madeleine hopes to audition for NYO in future and is working towards that goal.”
9 year old Iliana featured in our BMILS news in July with the news that she had been placed Runner-Up in the St Alban’s Young Musician Competition and that she was attending ‘Young Grittleton’ in August having won a place 2 years younger than is usual. We asked Iliana’s mum Emma to let us know how it all went:
“When you said that Iliana would have the time of her life, she certainly did!! Oh my goodness! You were spot on! We have never seen her so happy. Music and boarding school could not have been a better combination! We were a bit worried whether she would be ok and manage with the intensive schedule (7 hours of training a day), but we needn't have! She did amazingly well, so much so that the course director asked her if she could come back next year and every year until she's eighteen! It was a fantastic opportunity and Iliana has learnt so much. Her playing and confidence have improved considerably thanks to all the tuition and support she received. She has also made some very good friends …….. Chloe Chen….. and her sister, Isabella….until recently a Benslow borrower (Cello)! What a small world! I have also attached pictures of Iliana outside the boarding house, with her quintet and the Grittleton String Orchestra. In addition, I thought you would like to see a copy of Iliana's bursary thank you letter. She received a part bursary for the course and was asked to write a thank you letter during the course, along with the other recipients. These letters were posted up in the 'Senior Grittleton' area so I had no idea that she had written it. Her teacher, who was on the senior course took a picture for me. I think Iliana's own words say it all!” .....
.... encouraged me to carry on
if I stop and they have helped me get a lot better at my rhythms and sight reading.
Once again , I am very grateful and would love to have this incredible opportunity again next year and maybe more years to come.