Athlone academy hitting the right notes

A benefit concert was held on Sunday June 4 to raise R15 000 for 25 violinists of the Athlone Academy of Music to write their music exams in November.

The Athlone Music Academy needs funds to the tune of R15 000 for 25 violinists to take their Grade 5 Trinity music exam in November.

The Athlone Academy of Music was established in 1994 to provide music tuition within the Athlone area but has since expanded to communities as far as Malmesbury.

The academy’s aim is to ensure that music education is not lost as it aids in discipline, motivation and a sense of belonging.

Antoinette Peters, head of the senior group, said the academy wants to create opportunities for children to be active in music as society battles social ills such as substance abuse and violence against women and children.

Every year the academy hopes to send pupils to take the exam but most of their parents cannot afford the fee, which ranges from R400 to R1 030 a pupil.

Only three pupils made it to the exam last year and Ms Pieters said she hopes to send all the pupils this year.

The music academy hosted a benefit concert last Sunday June 4 where they raised R2 000.

While they are planning to host a high tea on Sunday July 2, at Garlandale High School, exam fees need to paid by Friday June 23.

Ms Pieters said she is hoping that enough tickets would be sold for the high tea, at R100 each, by then.

She said they also need donations in the form of 250 chair covers and 25 tables.

“Our main goal is to encourage the pupils to form part of other youth groups as well and go overseas and not limit themselves only to our academy,” said Ms Pieters.

The group’s wish is to go out to old age homes and play for the senior citizens to build up courage to play for an audience, according to Ms Pieters. “Our school is struggling, but we are trying our best to keep afloat. This academy helps to keep kids off the streets. It’s not about money. It’s about the passion we as teachers have, the music and seeing the growth of our kids,” she said.

She said that one of the things she always tells her pupils is that they must take pride in everything they do, even the small things.

“I can encourage them to make a career out of this and not just treat it like a hobby,” she said.

Ms Pieter said learning to play an instrument teaches children discipline, improves their attention span and helps them with mathematics. “Music invariably has the effect of taking people’s minds away form anti-social activities and allows them to express themselves in a positive way,” she said.

For details call Antoinette Pieters on 071 795 5067 or 021 697 1098.