A Pinelands girl’s musical dreams came true when she won a digital piano thanks to her music teacher and a Westlake piano store.
Ameerah Abrahams, a Grade 5 pupil at Pinehurst Primary School started taking piano lessons in Grade 2. Despite not having a piano at home, her tenacity compelled her music teacher, Ina O’Reilly, to write a motivational letter on Ameerah’s behalf for a give-away piano from Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos.
The store’s manager, Kim Stradling, said they had decided to gift two pre-owned digital pianos to two deserving nominees. After getting 125 nominations, they gave away three pianos instead of two.
“One of our customers had upgraded his Yamaha digital piano for a Kawai digital. As we don’t handle Yamaha digital pianos for various reasons, we still offered him the trade-in with the intention of servicing and donating his piano to a good cause. The idea started there, and we decided to match the donation with one of our Kawai digitals. Once the nominations started coming in we added an additional Kawai digital to the mix,” she said.
The three pianos went to Ameerah, Belhar High School and Capricorn Primary School.
Ms O’Reilly came across the give-away while browsing the store’s website.
“Ameerah has taken piano lessons with me for the past three years, without having a piano at home on which to practise. I just couldn’t pass the opportunity of entering her, knowing how much having her own instrument would mean to her and what impact it would have on her future music development. She has a deep and genuine desire to play the piano.”
In her letter, Ms O’Reilly described Ameerah as a bright pupil who read music well for her age.
“Ameerah practised her piano homework on a tabletop at home. During the recent hard lockdown periods and travel restrictions, she had to make do with ‘playing’ the piano on a tabletop while she had online lessons. At times, outside the lockdown periods, she visited her cousins to play on their piano. Ameerah is a tenacious and incredibly diligent young musician. She is preparing to take a Trinity piano exam this year.”
Ameerah’s mother, Asheeqah Majiet, said: “It was such a happy shock for us when we received a WhatsApp message that she had won. This was the first time that anyone in our entire family ever received such a huge and magnificent gift. All we can say is thank you to Ameerah’s teacher, Mrs O’ Reilly and to Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos for such a generous gift. Ameerah is a hard-working child and always does her best. She loves her piano and plays it with her younger brother.”
Ameerah said she was thrilled with her piano. “I feel happy, excited and extremely grateful to have been given this incredible gift. I will be able to use the piano on a daily basis as much as I want to, to prepare myself for the Trinity exam.”
Ms O’Reilly thanked Ian Burgess-Simpson, saying: “My heart overflows with joy when I imagine her future progress, now that she has her own piano at home on which she can freely play music. This gift is a blessing beyond comprehension. Thank you.”
Ms Stradling said Ameerah’s perseverance had stood out for them. “Ameerah was nominated by her teacher, who watched her persevere for three years with no instrument to practise on at home. No child with such a strong interest in piano should be learning on a tabletop and the fact that she is about to start her first Trinity exams this year means she has the talent, so it made sense for us to support that talent.”
Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos sells new and pre-owned pianos, both acoustic and digital. The company was started by Mr Burgess-Simpson in 1997.