2023’s Leavers

As Wirksworth Music Centre prepares for a brand new year, we’d like to give a fond farewell to this year’s leavers, and to wish them well as they take the next big steps in their lives. This year we say goodbye to Ruby Bisset, Amelia Monteiro and George Allwood, who have been with us for most of their musical careers and have all made a huge contribution to Wirksworth Music Centre over the years.

Here’s a little more about each of them and what they’re up to next…

Ruby Bisset started at WMC at the age of 6, playing violin and later the recorder. After two or three years, she switched to the cello and also took up the flute, working her way up through the junior and intermediate groups to play in senior strings, windband and recorder groups. Ruby told us that she thoroughly enjoyed every Saturday and learned something valuable from all of the teachers but especially Davina, Jenny, Chris and Nick. She also formed friendships with people from other schools, she wouldn’t have otherwise met, including Amelia Monteiro who has become one of her closest friends. Ruby said, “I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given at Wirksworth Music Centre and hope it continues for many years to come so that many more players can have the benefits I have had. It has enhanced my playing so I could play a lead role in ensembles at a county level. Playing a flute concerto solo at the concert this summer was a fitting way to end my 12 years at music centre!”

Ruby will be starting a degree in Educational Psychology at York University this autumn, where she hopes to join various ensembles on both cello and flute, she has already set up an audition for the University Orchestra, so we hope to hear news of this soon!

Amelia Monteiro said, “I was part of WMC for around 12 years, so it has played a massive role in my life. I made some of my best friends there and met teachers who I will always remember. WMC, and especially its teaching, made me the musician and person that I am today. I started in Brigid’s Early Recorder Group and on taking up the violin too, progressed my way through all the recorder and string groups at WMC. During the pandemic, Nick Stacey’s online sessions were one of my favourite things. I thought they were really fun and gave me something to do in lockdown, especially since all the music ensembles I was part of had to briefly stop. Nick’s sessions made music fun again.”

Amelia is now off to Newcastle University to study Medicine, where she hopes to join all of the string groups as well as the orchestra.  She said,  “my music teacher also suggested that perhaps I do some part-time violin teaching or form a quartet and play at weddings. I’m not entirely sure, but whatever happens next, music will definitely be involved somehow.”

George Allwood first started at Wirksworth Music Centre when he was 9 or 10 years old, he played the tenor horn in the Intermediate Wind Band before taking up the baritone and finally settling on the euphonium. George said, “this was my first proper band and it allowed me to really get to grips with playing in a band with people my own age and let me enjoy playing rather than just having lessons.” In Year 7 George moved into the Senior Wind Band with Nick Stacey which is where he really started to enjoy the pieces he was playing. George also really enjoyed playing the recorder, he said, “I remember being really shocked one day when I was asked to move to Senior Recorders with Chris Dixon, thinking I had no idea what to do there. However I soon found my feet! One of the highlights was playing a Schindlers List solo, as it’s one of my favourite pieces of music.”

And now George is going to Cambridge University to study Human Social and Political Sciences and is hoping to carry on playing music in a brass band with the Euphonium and an orchestra on the double bass. He also hopes to continue playing in a brass band when he’s at home in Derbyshire.

It’s wonderful to hear how important music has been to these three students, and how they all plan to play as they move on to higher education. We are so proud of Ruby, Amelia and George and of course, wish them all the absolute best for the years ahead and hope music will continue to play a big part in their lives!

Photo from left to right Amelia, George and Ruby courtesy Lucy Hunter.