Wednesday March 7, 2012



Community News

Helping Hands

Lygo scholarships make life easier for music students

Released by Graham Yates, CAM



Benjamin Hall, 13, an Academy scholarship recipient, performs at November’s New Music Concert.  Photo courtesy of Tanya Maahs.


s a non-profit, the Chilliwack Academy of Music is not rolling in cash. But when it comes to helping local music students afford their private lessons, the Academy has quite a lot of financial awards to give away – to the tune of over $28,000, 37% more than last year. 


These awards are made possible due to the generosity of many contributors over the decades as well as two more recent benefactors: 89.5 The Hawk and the estate of Charles Lygo.


89.5 The Hawk has endowed the Academy with seven years of funding for specific projects totalling over a quarter million dollars.  For the 2012-13 academic term, that translates into $9,000 to award to graduating Chilliwack students looking to study in a post-secondary music program, and $10,000 in bursaries to families with budgetary constraints but who want to register at the Academy for music lessons in the fall.


Lygo Scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded to current Academy students who are chosen based on competitive auditions held in May.  This year, the Lygo Scholarship fund is $5,000, meaning the Academy has been able to double both the number of awards available in each category as well as double the amount of each award. 


This has made Academy principal Graham Yates very pleased:  “Our scholarships are now at the level they should be for a school of our size and calibre.  Scholarship applicants work extremely hard to compete for these funds so to be able to reward more students for that effort and to know that the awards will have more impact on their tuition price tag is very gratifying.” 


Award winners are featured in a free public performance, the Student Honours Concert, held in the Cultural Centre’s main theatre on May 26 at 1 pm.  All are welcome to attend and celebrate the achievement of their community’s young musicians.


Getting the word out about financial awards – especially bursaries – has proved challenging, though, because not enough people apply.  “We know the need and desire are there,” says Yates, “but I would like to see a lot more families applying for bursaries because they will probably get something for their effort. 


The purpose of the Academy being a non-profit is that we want to make learning music from some of the best teachers in the region possible for everyone who wants it.  Scholarships and bursaries are meant to help accomplish that purpose.”


Past bursary recipients agree that music lessons have greatly impacted their lives.  One eleven-year-old student said that music lessons had made her a more disciplined student in school.  A mother of a 5-year-old said the lessons had given her child “tools through which her patience, self-control, social skills and confidence [had] all improved.” 


A 20-year-old bursary recipient provided the following testimonial: “I was able to attend a workshop at the Victoria Conservatory of Music which included all styles of music, even jazz.  There I made lifelong friends who impacted my life greatly.  If it were not for music lessons I would not have had those amazing experiences.”


Would-be scholarship and bursary recipients for 2012-13 need to get their applications in shortly.  The deadline to submit applications is Monday, April 2 at 4:30 pm.  All of the forms are available to download from the Academy’s website:  For more information, readers may contact the Academy at 604-792-0790.



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