Bursary tightens the guitar strings

Chloe Hasson has been given a boost in pursuing her passion as a classical guitarist, thanks to the Townsville Business Women's Circle's Women's Education Bursary

Local musician Chloe Hasson was awarded $2,500 to advance her music studies today as a recipient of the Townsville Business Women’s Circle’s (TBWC) BOQ Castletown Education Bursary – almost double the amount that the bursary was initially capped at.

Chloe, a St Margaret Mary’s College graduate, is continuing her study of Classical Guitar this year at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. However, her small stature almost prevented her from continuing to do what she loves.

“As my workload and practice requirements increase, the guitar will slowly but eventually cause long-term harm, preventing me from playing the guitar or the piano again. As my hand is constantly straining while I play and practice my current guitar, it is a requirement to have one especially made for my petite stature,” said Chloe.

The custom-made guitar will cost at least $10,000 to design and make, a cost that will be covered, in part, by the TBWC Women’s Education Bursary.

“With the help of the bursary, I am currently in a financial position to purchase a custom-made classical guitar. Although it may take some time for the guitar to be made, in the future it will benefit me significantly.”

Music has been Chloe’s passion from a young age; she began learning piano at the age of three and has not stopped since.

“In late 2013, I decided to teach the piano. Throughout my years of teaching I managed to attain six students who I would teach on a weekly basis. These students helped me to develop both as a musician and as a teacher, and cemented the idea that music is about giving; it’s about being both selfless and selfish at the same time. We work so hard as musicians our entire life – this is the selfish aspect – and when we have attained a high enough level of skill, we are able to express the selflessness by teaching.”

Chloe Hasson has been awarded $2,500 toward having a custom classical guitar designed and made to suit her petite stature.

This thought process was mirrored in Bursary sponsor and BOQ Castletown owner, Lisa Leonardi.

“The minute that TBWC came up with the concept of the Bursary, I jumped aboard – it aligned with the values of me and with my business. I love encouraging my own staff to further their education and knowledge, offering more workshops and more community engagement. The great thing about business is you get to a point where you can give back,” said Lisa.

“Initially, the bursary was capped at $1,500 per recipient – but it gained so much traction early on, and we heard stories from so many amazing young women. This early traction drove me to approach a couple of general managers within BOQ, who mentioned they wanted to keep informed on fundraising – and eventually agreed to match all donations. Chloe’s interview in particular was unique – she was on a pursuit of passion, which wasn’t the usual education pathway you’re used to seeing.

“The Arts in Townsville are definitely undervalued – there’s such a terrific arts scene locally, but people just don’t understand what’s out there. There’s also such a focus on the commercial, but people don’t recognise the huge impact the other side – designing and creating – has on the economy too. The Arts are so important.”

Chloe said that, although she had no definite plans for the future, she knew it would be one where she continued pursuing her passions.

“My music teachers and my school – St Margaret Mary’s College – have taught me there is no limit in life. We can do anything and be anything that we set our minds to. Although I have not completely come to a conclusion about what it is I will be doing in 5-10 years, I know that I will take every opportunity that is passed my way and see what my destiny in life is.

“To other young people considering pursuing a career in the creative industries, I say “good on you!” During my first week at the Conservatorium of Music, one of my lecturers said “you, sitting in this room, I call the extraordinary.  All of the other people are just the ordinary”  – implying that musicians and those in the arts industry attain abilities that just ordinary people do not have.  If you know in your heart that you want to pursue a career in the creative arts, go for it.  Don’t listen to the harsh comments and critiques.  You be who you want to be.  I have spent my entire life playing and learning music, and I knew right from the age of 10 that I wanted to study music at tertiary level.  Nobody stood in my way to achieve this dream of mine, no matter what comments came my way.  Now, awaiting me is a new and exciting adventure that I can only thank my family, music teachers and influential teachers and peers at St Margaret Mary’s College, for.” 


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