WEDNESDAY, APR. 25: The Menhuin Foundation is holding a tag day tomorrow to help raise money for its free educational school programmes.
The foundation’s goal is to nurture and develop an interest in and appreciation of classical music in all the island’s children. Its Schools Programme has a presence in almost all 19 primary schools, providing free tuition to students.
Menhuin also organizes and produces a number of concerts throughout the year through its three orchestras — The First, The Junior and The Youth Orchestras.
Tomorrow, there will be fundraisers in prominent places in Hamilton including Butterfield Bank, HSBC Bank of Bermuda, Supermart, Miles and Market Place as well as Harrington Hundreds in Smith’s and Heron Bay Market Place. The tag day will run throughout most of the day.
It is hoped that as well as raising funds for the foundation, which recently had its government funding cut due to budget restraints, the tag day will also help to educate the public about the foundation’s purpose.
President Terri Allison told the Bermuda Sun: “We want to remind people that we are out there — our name is fairly well known in the community but people tend to forget why we are around and the work we do is generally not very well publicised.
“You have these organizations that work behind the scenes and are quite impactful but the community doesn’t realise the extent of the work that they do and I think Menhuin is one of those groups.”
The Foundation was launched in 1976 after a visit to the island by leading violin virtuoso Lord Yehudi Menhuin to perform in the Bermuda Festival. A visit to the string group at Warwick academy sparked his desire to establish a string quartet in Bermuda to provide music instruction to all our school children.
The quartet was established in 1976 and today the foundation employs five string musicians who provide group and individual tuition island-wide.
Allison continued: “The string musicians perform together but their primary function is to educate and expose young people to classical music and instrument playing. The fact that there are 19 primary schools on the island makes an interesting schedule for the teachers! We are trying to see that all students in P4 have an opportunity once a week to be exposed to a Menhuin teacher and to playing an instrument.
“Their education includes aural education and training, theory classes and music appreciation which includes other genres.
“Our orchestras play regular concerts at Christmas, Easter, and the year end concert in June. That concert is generally the largest — it will involve over 250 students and their interested parties so it is huge. It just gives an indication of the breadth of the community the Menhuin affects.”
The Menhuin Foundation also offers paid-for tuition which helps to support its free programme.
Anyone interested in offering support or donating funds can email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit: www.menhuin.bm.
President of the Menhuin Foundation Terri Allison remembers when Lord Yehudi Menhuin visited Warwick Academy where she was a student at the time:
I was in the class when Lord Menhuin came to Warwick Academy High School which had just begun its stringed programme — I was part of the guinea pig class.
I remember him taking one of my friend’s instruments and playing it for us in the class and I was just blown away — we sounded fairly dreadful and here he comes and picks up one of our instruments and makes it sounds so beautiful.
I had other opportunities to meet him and he took an awful lot of time with individuals and he was very concerned about children having
exposure to classical music.
I have three daughters, one in Boston studying at a conservatory — all of them are playing the violin — the youngest is making her debut at the Heritage Concert this year.
That that brief exposure helped to cultivate a love for classical music, and had a big impact on my life. I am 50 years old and a huge classical music fan and it began that early — when I was 14 years old.
As a Bermudian, when I see some of the challenges that Bermuda is facing at the moment I know that a love for excellence in something, in this case music, is certainly one of those things that helps provide opportunities for positive development and I see that music is one of those vehicles that can certainly do that on so many fronts.
I grew up in Ord Road — an environment where nobody was interested in classical music. I found that strange — in one environment everyone knows about it and in another, nobody cares. That’s one of the things I loved about this group — they reach all environments so children can get a broader perspective.