Not for Profit
Music academy continues to score incredible tale of survival through pandemic
Improvising as it goes, Gloucestershire Academy of Music is writing a whole new movement as it continues to play its way through a pandemic - and there is a fundraising push you can help with.
It is one of the unsung gems of the county with an incredible 2,000 pupils of all ages, abilities and back grounds with teaching, tutoring and coaching delivered to 500 on a weekly basis.
All of which was threatened with the advent of lockdown which closed its studio in the historic centre of Gloucester and some might have thought a move which would force the business (also a charity) to consider its last waltz.
Instead it has transformed, thanks to the technical digital prowess of one or two of its staff – as adept it seems on a digital platform as the stage – determined to continue to provide music for everyone.
“We have grown to 2,000-plus pupils and teach about 500 a week. And we are in the process of looking to buy our building,” said Viv Hargreaves, chairman of the academy whose building is beside the historic Gloucester Prison, of Barbican Rd facing the city’s Docks.
“We have really grasped the nettle with Zoom (the on-line video platform). Some 79 per cent of our lessons are now taking place on Zoom.
“Of course, teaching in schools is down – but only by about a third. It is amazing.”
With which she heaps praise in particular on tutor Glyn Oxley and his family who understood not just the idea of Zoom, but its potential, how to operate its break-out rooms and other functions giving group sessions meaning while still allowing one-to-one tuition.
Orchestras have been allowed to communicate, to play along, and to remain enthused, as have individuals, all of which has also kept the income coming in to what might be a charity, but also needs to pay its way to secure any future.
It remains resolutely determined to provide bursaries for anyone whose economic circumstances threaten to curtail their lessons and membership as a result of the pandemic.
Which brings us to Ms Hargreaves own personal challenge of raising £3,000 to fund such bursaries “to help make music accessible to all our students through this covid crisis and keep our lessons streaming”.
“I am going to be running five kilometres a day for the next 31 days. Please support me as chairman to raise £1,000 by running 5K a day for the next 31 days and my colleagues Sophie and Jess who are also going for it,” she said on her Facebook page.
What she neglected to also say was her own running route allows her to check on a couple who have been shielding throughout the pandemic.