The Victoria Conservatory of Music is celebrating a major fundraising milestone Tuesday. It’s bursary fund has reached the $1,000,000 mark and continues to grow.

The Eric and Shirley Charman Young Musicians Bursary Fund was established two years ago to celebrate the 85th birthday of Victoria philanthropist Eric Charman by his friends. 

Eric Charman, who grew up as an orphan in England always wanted to pursue piano but couldn’t afford lessons. As a young man, he moved to Victoria where he managed to build a successful career in real-estate before retiring and focusing on philanthropy. 

“It’s so nice and satisfying to know that some people will be able to do what I couldn’t do,” said Charman. “I couldn’t afford music lessons as a young kid in England.”

This money is going to help a lot of young musicians, according to the conservatory. Currently, the organization has an existing bursary fund that supplies about $85,000 in bursaries each year. This new fund will supply an extra $40,000 per year going forward. 

Jane Butler McGregor, CEO of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, says this money will allow generations of music students to experience the power of music, no matter what their financial situation may be. 

“I think there are so many young people in our community that maybe think that they can never afford to take music lessons,” said Butler McGregor. “This bursary fund is going to give them the chance that they never thought they would have.”

The bursary is for musicians under the age of 25 who require financial assistance to study at the Victoria Conservancy. 

It was also announced today that all donations to the fund received before the end of October will be matched by the Canada Culture Endowment Incentive Program.