Guildhall School of Music & Drama Supporters' Evening
Our Company has been a supporter of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama since our early beginnings in the 1950s. Over the years, our Benevolent Fund has provided valuable support to hundreds of young singers and musicians for whom our money has made a real difference. Each year the School invites the supporters to a reception that enables them to meet their students and to mix with School staff and fellow benefactors. This year we have increased the funding to enable the Company to increase support from three to four students. It was therefore with great eagerness that the Mistress, the Clerk and I attended the Supporters' Evening to hopefully meet them.
Upon arrival at Milton Court, we were delighted to find that all four students were in attendance. These were Robert Lewis (Singer, Tenor), Andrew Garrido (Classical Piano), Leila Alexander (Singer, Soprano) and Zachary Owen (Cello). Each of them chatted freely about their experiences about how they found their way to Guildhall School and the considerable sacrifices that they have made. In the case of Leila, for example, she gave up a career in law in her native New Zealand to pursue her dream of being a professional singer and travelled half way around the world to do it. Similar stories of hard choices were also related by the others.
The courses for these students are gruelling being full time every day plus practice and commitments to productions. With living costs so high in Central London, the students have to supplement their student finance either by taking low paid jobs in their limited free time (when they should be practicing) or by winning scholarships from benefactors. We found our students to be outstandingly driven and committed. They are each charming and very grateful for the opportunities at Guildhall School, one of the finest conservatoires in the world. These opportunities would be much harder or impossible to enjoy if they were not receiving our Company's support. We wish them every success.
At our January Dinner, we will be entertained by Robert Lewis and Andrew Garrido. I, for one, can't wait!