Young musicians in Dumfries and Galloway win funding awards

In April, seven talented young musicians living in Dumfries and Galloway were awarded funding to further their musical education.

The Agar Trust received 55 applications from traditional, classical, jazz and brass band musicians from all over Scotland including Sutherland, Aberdeen-shire, Highlands, Moray, Outer Hebrides, Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders. The standard was extremely high but after careful considerations, 26 young musicians aged between 8 and 21 were awarded grants.

Here are the successful Dumfries and Galloway recipients and what their grants will help support:Jazmine McCathie, 8, violin (Dalbeattie), Zhana Fritsch, 11, viola (Moffat), Eloise Fritsch, 14, violin (Moffat) – SScot orchestral course, Dunblane; Hadrian Gray, 11, saxophone (Dumfries) – residential music course, Barony College;; Amy Ritchie, 15, bagpipes (Newton Stewart) and Bethany Hanley, 16, bagpipes (Dumfries) - National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland rehearsals, Glasgow; Kyle Fitzsimmons, 15, cornet (Newton Stewart) – National Youth Brass Band course, Dunblane.

The Agar Trust, a Strathpeffer-based charity, offers grants of up to £1000 to support young people aged between 8 and 21 who demonstrate proven musical skills and potential. Since its formation in 2014, the Trust has made 41 awards from a total of 80 applicants. It recognizes the wealth of talented young musicians living in remote and rural areas of Scotland who wish to further their musical education or develop a career in music. While enjoying the advantages of their location, these young people face difficult challenges such as long, gruelling journeys to attend lessons, rehearsals, courses and auditions. Local music opportunities offer youngsters an excellent start. But often they must travel to seek specialist tuition or play with others of a similar standard. Journeys range from a weekly 200 mile round trip to a 500 mile round trip made 3-4 times per year. Inevitably, the financial and time costs are significantly demanding on families.

Moffat violinist, Eloise Fritsch, is one of several Suzuki string players receiving funding to attend an orchestral course in Dunblane. ‘There are no orchestras or chamber groups for children in my town and I try to join in as many music activities as I can during school holidays.’

A 2014 award winner, Georgina, from Brechin, recently contacted the Trust.

‘I cannot thank you enough for the money you gave me to help pay for transport down to weekly lessons in Edinburgh. I honestly don’t think that without your support I would be where I am today or have achieved what I have since September.’

The next deadline for applications is 30th September 2015. Visit www.agar-trust.org.uk for further information and details of how to apply. Applications from instrumentalists, singers and composers from all musical genres will be considered. Educational opportunities for young musicians are also advertised on the Trust’s Facebook site.

It’s already become apparent that talented young musicians living in remote and rural areas can miss out on life-changing opportunities that are easily taken for granted in urban areas. The Agar Trust wants to help prevent this but its funds are limited. You can make a donation to support these amazing and committed young musicians by visiting the Trust’s website at www.agar-trust.org.uk.