Spotlight on Elen
“The thing I love so much about NOFA is it is for sharing the joy of music - for giving the gift of playing in an orchestra to young people who wouldn't normally have the opportunity. It is the most diverse inclusive orchestra I have ever seen and it is all about the shared joy in music.”
Elen joined the National Orchestra for All in 2018 after being nominated for the orchestra by her cello teacher for showing exceptional dedication to music despite a lack of opportunities in her school and local area.
“Because Elen lives in Scarborough the ability to play in ensembles was limited by both geography and finances. We have no musical insider knowledge or connections nor the ability to take her on constant 120-mile round trips to play in other orchestras. Elen has had 5 different music teachers in 7 years and the music provision in Scarborough is very limited.” – Val, Elen’s mum.
At this time, Elen was making a 40-mile round trip in order to attend her cello lessons, and to have access to a tutor who would match her ambition and potential. In just three and a half years, Elen progressed from grade 3 to grade 8; a testament to her passion and dedication to music.
When she first came to NOFA, Elen was initially nervous as she didn’t know anyone, but soon made close friends and took an active role in supporting other musicians in her section. “I walked in to NOFA not knowing anyone so it has definitely increased my confidence. In general, learning music has taught me to be both independent and a good team worker, and has massively improved my listening and concentration. I have made lots of friends as a result of NOFA too. I have made friends for life and I love the friendly and family-like atmosphere of it.”
Elen’s mum Val also noticed the impact that NOFA was having: “NOFA has been a real inspiration and confidence boost for Elen. She has seen that anyone can make music together and create a joyful sound - and that is what music should be about.”
Elen’s ambition is to be a professional cellist, and to eventually train as a music therapist, so we were delighted to hear that she has now been accepted to study music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, something that Elen describes as her proudest achievement.
“Orchestras are so often populated by those in private education or with other advantages but NOFA is all inclusive and that has fed Elen's love of music. All the staff at NOFA really believe in the students and inspire them to be their best, giving them a real confidence boost.”