Spotlight on Alannah

Being a member of NOFA is so important to me, and has taught me a lot about being a musician. Five years ago, I had been playing the Cello for less than a year, and had never been in an orchestra before- and yet after only a few days, I was able to perform in a concert with my friends. That was something I’d never have even dreamed of doing. Every year, after being with NOFA for a few short days, I learn so many new techniques and skills that I can use throughout the year, and my tutor always says that there is a noticeable difference in my ability when I come back. Throughout the year, if I feel like I am not progressing, or am struggling to learn a difficult piece, reminding myself of NOFA and coming back a few times a year gives me the motivation to continue.

As much as being part of the orchestra has taught me a great deal musically, I believe it has been most beneficial to me as a person. I’ve spent the majority of my teenage years as part of NOFA, and you wouldn’t believe the difference it has made. I struggle a lot with anxiety and confidence, so much so that I could not be talking to you today without the support I receive here. There is always such a positive atmosphere, and it’s the little things that make a difference. The fact that everyone remembers my name, and small things I’ve told them throughout the year, just shows how much they care about every single person in the orchestra. You would think that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd in a large group like this, but I have never felt that way here, and I never feel as confident as I do that when I am playing here with my friends.

The work of Orchestras for All is really important. It has helped so many others like me develop the skills we need to be successful and happy in our lives. For example, I know some older members of the orchestra spoke about NOFA in their personal statements when applying to University, and that it helped them get interviews and even offers for places. Being a member of this orchestra helps us stand out in an increasingly competitive environment, and form us into well-rounded and successful people. At a time where there isn’t the state funding to provide music-based activities for us, students rely on hard-working charities like Orchestras for All