The Virtuoso Strings Orchestra performed on Saturday 2 July 2016 in Porirua College Hall. The concert was organised by Rotary Plimmerton after Graeme Kelly of Whitby Probus recognised an opportunity to raise some funds to help provide this amazing group of musicians with more instruments and tuition.
In 2012 Elizabeth Sneyd and Craig Utting founded 'The Virtuoso Strings' string orchestra to help young kids in Wellington learn the magic of good ensemble playing.
The Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust was established in 2013 and it provides free instruments and free tuition to students at low decile schools in Porirua and is run by a dedicated team of volunteers. The mission of the Trust is to offer thoroughly accessible and inclusive music education with an emphasis on group music-making. It works with local schools, as well as other organisations that provide food and other invaluable contributions needed to keep the orchestra going, but it survives thanks to the drive of volunteer music teachers Elizabeth and Craig. The Trust also runs the Virtuoso Strings Orchestra which rehearses each week in Cannons Creek, Porirua. The orchestra does not hold auditions and is open to any member of the public. They have established a vibrant youth and community orchestra in Porirua and they perform at literally dozens of community events each year around Porirua and Wellington. 'Inclusive' in every sense of the word, they are 100% committed to nurturing the stunning natural talent within the Porirua community with an unorthodox, holistic, and fun-loving approach to music education with proven results. The students enjoy being part of the orchestra 'family', and over time their self-esteem, confidence and achievement soars.
The audience on Saturday was entertained firstly by the Rising Stars group of newer performers with only about 12 months of playing experience. The youngest member, with a tiny violin, is only 5 years old. They performed a selection of short musical pieces ranging from classical to dance to modern, under the baton of vibrant and enthusiastic conductor Andrew Atkins, and it was very evident how much the young musicians were enjoying themselves. An octet of more experienced violinists and cellists performed an item called ‘Bridges’ composed by Craig Utting, which exhibited some very interesting musical effects and sounds. In the second half the All Stars Orchestra performed. These musicians have been learning and playing their violins and cellos for over a year, and their leader was Avril Stil. Again the range of pieces was diverse from Bach’s Air to Legend by O’Fallon, finishing with Pokarekare Ana. These musicians, too, were really enjoying themselves and were happy to be performing.
Rotary Plimmerton is pleased to donate $3,500 to Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust from a concert which was thoroughly enjoyed by an appreciative audience.