Inspiring young professional musicians
463. Dona Lee Croft
A musician set up a Trust to provide equipment and funding to support aspiring young professional musicians.
Dona Lee has been a professor of violin for 30 years. In that time she has seen many young musicians face problems in their search for success because of a lack of funding or performance experience.
In memory of her mum, Dorothy, who had great difficulty pursuing her dream of being a musician during the Great Depression, Dona Lee set up the Dorothy Croft Trust for Young Musicians.
The Trust allocates grants of up to £2000 to musicians aged 17-25 for lessons, new instruments and travel in order to further their musical studies, as well as linking those who need an instrument to instruments no longer needed by others. In February 2011, the Trust set up an orchestra to get professional musicians playing alongside young talent, helping them gain the performance experience needed to excel.
Some of the musicians supported by the Trust have reached great heights – performing in the Proms, winning international scholarships and being shortlisted for prestigious awards.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Dona Lee has given a huge amount of time and energy to remove the barriers some young musicians face in trying to achieve their dreams. With the Dorothy Croft Trust, Dona Lee not only helps to fund instruments and lessons for young people, her orchestra also gives them an invaluable opportunity to gain performance experience and showcase their talent. It is a wonderful initiative and I am delighted to be able to recognise Dona Lee’s service by making her the UK’s 463rd Point of Light.”
The Trust also works with former musicians encouraging them to donate instruments that they no longer need. Professional grade instruments are lent out to up and coming young talent who often build a relationship with the donor and further contacts to enhance their career.
Dona Lee said:
“I’m greatly honoured to receive this award on behalf of everyone at the Dorothy Croft Trust. The charity speaks to every musician who has seen the downside of disadvantage, so it’s an honour to see our hard work being recognised in this way. We’re supported by a fantastic team of volunteers and are truly grateful for their support. From the trustees who champion the cause, to the musicians who come out and perform for us and the public for donating their unused instruments so generously – a huge thank you. And thanks also to the Prime Minister and everyone involved in the Points of Light Programme for this recognition, it’s hugely appreciated.”