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Lifelong dream to support young musicians realised.

Alongside a lifelong passion for teaching and learning music, stalwart of the South Kaipara musical community, Daphne Stevens also had a dream – to one day set up a scholarship supporting local young musicians.

When ill-health struck and she was no longer able to teach after more than 70 years, Daphne decided to make this dream a reality. So, with the support of friends, her lawyer, and Auckland Foundation, she established the Daphne Gretta Mary Stevens Community Music Scholarship Fund earlier this year.

Each year the scholarship will award $3,000 to an individual or small group to run music activities and performances for South Kaipara’s community groups, and the first-ever recipient has just been announced.

16-year-old Orewa College student Billie Hart is an accomplished musician, with a passion for classical and jazz piano. A regular participant in both her school’s and the community’s music activities, Billie has seen the benefits that musical performances can bring, especially to the elderly. In 2015, she was a volunteer at the Evelyn Page Retirement Village Special Care Unit, performing an hour of music each week for three months.

“The feedback I received from the audience each week was overwhelmingly positive, and I soon realised how much the older members of our community love hearing young people play music to a high standard,” says Billie.

She plans to create a programme of performances at retirement villages and rest homes throughout the Hibiscus Coast, as well as primary schools. “After 10 years of playing piano, I would love to inspire other children to develop an interest in music from a young age,” she adds.

While Billie is still finalising her performance programme, her first performance is planned to take place at the Waitoki Community Church Hall – where Daphne herself played the organ for many years.

You can hear more from Billie about her love of music and her scholarship plans here


Photo: Billie performing with the Orewa College Senior Jazz Band at the KBB Music Festival.