I have a dream - From small beginnings nurtured talent blossoms
By Carolyn Rait
Date posted 19 July 2015
Husband and wife team, Elizabeth Sneyd and Craig Utting, have always been passionate about music, not only teaching private students on bowed strings and piano, but instilling a love of music in their five children.
Having played in many New Zealand orchestras as a violinist, Dr Elizabeth Sneyd QSM is keen to provide opportunities for students who may not be able to financially access music tuition. Impressed by the ability of Pacific Island students, Liz established the Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust in 2013 with the aim to offer free violin tuition throughout all decile one primary and intermediate schools in Porirua. All instruments, music and accessories required by the Trust for its Schools Programme are donated by Virtuoso Strings.
The last financial year (1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015) has been one of rapid growth in the Virtuoso Strings Porirua music programme, both within the school and within the community setting. Participation in the Schools Programme has risen from 17 students in April 2014 to over 90 students in March 2015 (and 100 students in May 2015) with a total of 11 participating schools. Elizabeth provides over 40 hours of free tuition per week and in addition gives private lessons.
The Trust also administers the Virtuoso Strings Orchestra serving string students of all ages in the Porirua community and beyond. Participation in the Virtuoso Strings community and youth orchestra has skyrocketed among Porirua residents, with around 80% of students in the schools programme regularly attending the weekly orchestra rehearsal. Rehearsals take place in Cannons Creek, Porirua, every Tuesday evening from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm.
Liz is supported by her husband, Craig, who arranges and typesets all the music for the Virtuoso Strings Orchestra at no cost and provides piano accompaniment at all rehearsals. He also picks up students and drives them to and from the practices.
Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust's vision is for Porirua to be the home of two truly outstanding youth orchestras within five years. Within a decade their vision is that every youth, amateur and professional orchestra in the wider Wellington region becomes a true reflection of the socio-economic, cultural and ethnic diversity of New Zealand.
Please contact Elizabeth or Craig (telephone (04) 232 1231) for more information. They would love to hear from anyone who is able to donate time, money or expertise (musical, logistical or administrative) to the Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust.You can donate by visiting their GiveaLittle site here.