A brief history of the Leonard Gibbons Fund
Leonard Gibbons, Secretary of Birmingham Organists’ Association during the 1930s, was a former organist of St Mary’s Church, Selly Oak and St George’s Church, Edgbaston. The Fund originated in 1978 when Mrs Gibbons made a donation to the association in memory of her late husband. The records show a succession of further donations from her during the 1980s.
Since then, the Fund has grown substantially through the regular efforts and generosity of many members of the association. From 1983, the Fund was used to provide a single annual prize for someone living in the Birmingham area, studying the organ, and judged by the trustees to be outstanding in commitment and performance. Amongst those benefiting from the Fund during this period can be counted several who have become professional musicians and recitalists, including Keith Hearnshaw, Paul Carr and David Briggs.
Since 2000, the capital has increased three-fold in spite of regular payments being made to worthy organ students. Consequently the members of BOA Council who act as the Fund's trustees have been able to create opportunities for even more students to benefit from the Fund. Several undergraduate students of Birmingham Conservatoire's organ department have benfited from awards in recent years. There is no longer a single annual prize: students are invited to apply for an award throughout the year. Once suitable references have been received, an award is now normally made either as a voucher for the purchase of organ music or as lessons with a well-respected organ teacher.
Click here for the Guidelines used by the trustees in making awards.