Duke Dobing and Steve Pickett reflect on their time as Trustees
When Katharine Kent invited me to become one of the first Trustees of Future Talent in 2004, I realised that her inspired vision for children and young people whose musical talents lay undiscovered or neglected, provided a marvellous opportunity for me to give something back in return for the wonderful musical education I had received.
I came from a very musical family of modest means, but nonetheless every opportunity lay open and unimpeded by financial constraint – school music, Royal Academy of Music Saturday School, National Youth Orchestra, university, RAM again as a postgraduate student – all available to young musical talent via local authority and government grants. This world has long gone, but Future Talent is a beacon of hope, providing much-needed financial and pastoral support for today’s emerging young musicians from modest or low income backgrounds.
I am proud to have played a part in its growth and am very confident that, at the beginning of the second decade of its life, Future Talent could not be in better hands.
My invitation to join the board at the inception of this wonderful charity came at a very interesting time in my career. I had just changed direction from being a professional musician to becoming an Education Director of a major UK orchestra, in 2002.
I do not come from a musical background. Both my parents were non-musical but similar to my friend, Duke Dobing, I had a local government grant to pursue a route into the music profession. It all seemed so straightforward then. Sadly, those days are gone.
Since being at the Hallé I regularly come across talented young people without a breath of a chance of progressing because they either lack resources or have parents who are unsure where to find support for their musically talented child – ‘What should we do? Help!’.
Fortunately, we now have not only a way to help with the resource side but just as important, a network of mentors and advisers who can help. What a brilliant model! I can only say that it has been an honour to play a small part in the Charity’s early development and I have no doubt that in the future, Future Talent will have an important role to play in keeping the musical life of our country healthy.