Musical students of the Parksville Qualicum Beach region have a new scholarship to look out for this year.
The Oceanside Classical Concerts Society (OCCS) will hold their first annual scholarship competition, open to youngsters in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region who want to pursue a post-secondary education in the field.
Joseph Straka, vice president of OCCS, said the competition will culminate on May 15 and be awarded to a single recipient in the amount of $2,500.
According to Straka, the organization has maintained two goals – the first to provide the community of Parksville Qualicum Beach additional classical music performances by national and international musicians; and the second to advance musical education by providing scholarships.
“There’s a series of qualifiers based on academic achievement and musical ability. And this scholarship applies to musicians of all genres, not just classical music,” said Straka.
He said another significant qualifier they’ve be looking out for is an applicant’s devotion to a musical career as well.
Over the past seven years, the society has been raising funds through various drives among their subscribers to be able to provide their first scholarship.
“They’ve all given very generously and we couldn’t have been able to do this without them.”
The amount for the scholarship will vary year-to-year, and is dependent upon the funds raised the following year.
“We believe that music has a big emotional impact on society,” said Straka. “Studies have shown that students who complete music courses score higher GPAs and receive more academic honours than people who don’t study music… The other reason we want to give scholarships is because it costs money to go to school and post-secondary education is getting more expensive every year. And music students find fierce competition in the industry.”
He said the society aims to help partly erase some of the costs involved with pursing a musical education, and to close the gap to education that many students may find themselves stopped by.
The scholarship is open to final year secondary students from Courtenay/Comox all the way to Cedar in south Nanaimo.
According to the OCCS website, applicants will need to submit an application form, a 500 word essay and references. By May 1, all selected candidates will participate in an online presentation scheduled for May 15. The application form can be found at www.oceansideclassicalconcerts.ca.