“Hurry up dad, we have to catch the bus so we can get to orchestra on time!” says 9-year-old Amazonia Wallace-Marak.
Amazonia grabs her cello as she heads for the door, pulling her dad Tim along behind her.
Amazonia is one of Sheffield Music Hub’s ‘Musical Stars’ - youngsters in the city that are supported in their love of music through regular one-to-one lessons, free instrument hire and an appropriate local practice room.
“I love learning the cello, it makes me feel proud,” Amazonia adds.
The Wharncliffe Side School pupil was accepted onto the Musical Stars scheme the same day her dad was told that their lease was going to be terminated. Knowing that as a Musical Star, Amazonia would have the advantage of weekly 30-minute cello lessons – something they could not begin to afford on their own – provided them both with a tangible sense of optimism despite the difficulties of their current situation. Still without a housing solution, Amazonia knows that her cello will remain with her regardless.
Amazonia’s dad Tim said: “The musical stars scheme has opened up a whole world of possibilities and opportunities. To see Amazonia perform her first ‘gig’ in front of 700 people at the Octagon made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was an incredible experience – one I’m sure she’ll never forget.
“Since she started her cello lessons, Amazonia’s confidence has grown in leaps and bounds. Having spent the first five years of her life living in an Asian rainforest, Amazonia has always been quite shy, and learning the cello - and performing with Sheffield Children’s Orchestra - has given her an extra confidence in dealing with others.”
Musical Stars, which ensures all children have access to music in Sheffield, launched in the city last week, along with a Telegraph campaign to raise £20,000 to fund the first 50 or 60 musical ‘stars’ which the hub hopes to uncover.
Tim added: “I would say to other parents that musical education is a vital part of a child’s upbringing. Creativity is where a child really shines. I want Amazonia to shine as brightly as she possibly can. Learning cello will help her to do that. Thank heavens for the musical stars scheme.”
Visit www.sheffieldmusichub.org to donate.