The loss of a loved one is always difficult for family and friends.
The Simmons family from Wauchope has found a unique way to honour their beloved matriarch, Helen Glenn, to ensure her love of music is instilled into a legacy.
The Helen Glenn Memorial Grant for Studies in Music was created as an annual endowment through the Hastings Education Fund (HEF) to a recipient studying music for their career.
Tanya Simmons said her grandmother Helen loved playing anywhere or everywhere, especially at church.
“She loved playing piano and later organ and would play anything from a hymn to AC/DC – she was very clever,” Ms Simmons said.
“She taught herself and got her hands on whatever music she could find and often surrounded herself with other musicians when she could.”
The inaugural recipient for the bequest is Sam Killick, a former student and school captain of St Columba Anglican School, who has recently been accepted to study a music degree at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music.
“I’m doing a bachelor of music performance, majoring in jazz studies,” Sam said.
“It involves jazz history, improvisation and jazz ensembles.”
Sam’s instrument is electric guitar and is self-taught after initial lessons with Adrian Kimmorley, showing a parallel with his benefactor Mrs Glenn.
Inspired by jazz musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Mary Halvorson, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Sam will study for four years before deciding whether he will do session work, join other bands, teach or follow other music opportunities that may arise.
Sam will use the bequest to help out with equipment he will need during his studies and getting him started in the course.
“I want to thank the Simmons family for this special grant and I will do my best to make the memory of Helen Glenn proud,” he said.
Hastings Education Fund chair Jim O’Brien said providing a bequest for a student was a wonderful way to ensure the memory of a loved one was sustained through the progress and achievements of that student.
“I can’t thank the Simmons family enough for considering the Hastings Education Fund to administer their wishes in this way in addition to their ongoing gold sponsorship,” Mr O’Brien said.
“We at HEF will also look forward to supporting Sam as he further develops his musical expertise in a way Helen Glenn would have loved.”
When asked what her grandmother would think of the first grant going to a jazz guitarist, Ms Simmons said: “Bub would love it – her music taste was vast, so she would love the idea of supporting a jazz guitarist.”