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Duo excel amid blossoming friendships

Gabriel Jones picked up the violin at 8.

Conor Hay was a little older, most likely because he met the guitar first.

The teenagers are joint recipients of the Menuhin Foundation scholarship, selected for their talent and their passion for music.

“I've played the guitar since I was 7,” said Conor, 15. “In Year Six, I started taking violin lessons with the Menuhin Foundation. I really enjoy both. They're a lot of fun — both very rewarding to play and very challenging.”

The Warwick Academy student also leads the music charity's Youth Orchestra with Gabriel, 16.

The latter started taking violin group lessons with Menuhin before he was 10, and fell in love. “They do it for all the schools in Bermuda and it's a great way to get started,” said Gabriel, an SGY1 student at Saltus.

“They start with fun pieces for kids to play. Kids at that age can learn and start to love the violin.”

Gabriel and Conor were also joint winners of the annual Menuhin award in 2016; Gabriel alone took the honour the year before that.

“The Menuhin Foundation has been great for me,” he said. “You have to work with other people in the orchestra and as leader, you have to learn to introduce pieces. It's been just a great experience every Saturday to play with friends — because you do become friends with the people who are there.”

The pair had to select and perform two pieces to be considered for the $750 award.

“Anyone can apply,” Gabriel said. “You have to play in front of judges so it's a great way to practise your performance skills. I played Adajio by Bach and Scherzo by Tchaikovsky and in the end tied for the scholarship, which goes towards Menuhin lessons.”

Added Conor: “The scholarship winners [each year] play at the end of the year in concert. I played that piece and one of my Grade 8 pieces — Csardas by Monti and Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor, first movement.”

Both teens see music in their future.

“After I finish [with the] Youth Orchestra, I hope to take further lessons,” said Gabriel. “I don't want to [play the violin] professionally, but maybe I'll join the orchestra at university for fun.”

Said Conor: “I've thought about it as a career but I am really interested in studying law. I will continue music. It's a big part of my life and I really enjoy it.

“I'd definitely recommend [lessons with the Menuhin Foundation] to anyone. I think it teaches a lot — not only music but other aspects of your life: perseverance, resilience and I think it's a very rewarding experience as well.”

Learn more here: http: www.menuhin.bm

Menuhin Foundation: Gabriel Jones, left, and Conor Hay (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published November 20, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated November 19, 2017 at 10:00 pm)

Duo excel amid blossoming friendships

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