Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who won the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2016, donated $4,000 to Trinity Catholic School in Nottinghamshire, England, reports Notthingham Post.
The 18-year-old cellist learned that budget cuts at his former school included the cancellation of music teaching. He immediately decided to send money so cello students could continue learning at the school. His donation ensured that the music department could resume activities for the next three years.
Following his big win last year, Kanneh-Mason became a celebrated musician. He has performed cello concerts in different important venues, including the Royal Albert Hall in London during the 2017 British Academy Film Awards. He is also a soloist at Chineke! Orchestra, a minority ethnic orchestra. Part of the earnings he saved from his shows went to the Christian school.
“I have had amazing opportunities at Trinity School, and to see other children not have the same opportunities as I had would be a huge shame,” Kanneh-Mason said.
Kadie Mason, the musician’s mother, revealed that her son was “heartbroken” after hearing the news that the music department at his former school was under threat.
“He treasures his years at the school and feels that while he was there music was at the heart of Trinity and led to the atmosphere of cooperation, mutual respect and attainment,” she said.
Trinity Catholic School was proud to have a generous alumni. “Sheku decided to make a big donation which has made it possible to carry on teaching the cello to our pupils in the future and that will be his legacy at the school,” said Steve Mandeson, assistant head teacher.
Kanneh-Mason has always been a huge supporter of music teaching in school. In an interview with The Guardian, he said he would like people to have the opportunity to enter the world of classical music. He noted that music was not given priority in schools.
“Hopefully me being from a state school, and the first winner who is black, and seeing things like the Chineke! Orchestra, will inspire others from similar backgrounds to see this journey as something that they could also do,” he said.