An Elthorne Park student has won this year’s Alice Gross Memorial Song Writing Award, topping the list of talented entrants with her own song.
Elise McQueen was announced the winner earlier this year at her school in front of her peers and Alice’s mother Rosalind Hodgkiss.
The award was established in 2017 by Ealing Council’s Music Service to honour Alice Gross, who was a promising musician and song writer. Alice attended Brentside High and tragically lost her life in September 2014.
Elise won the award for her song titled Mortal Souls.
“I wrote this song a while back,” Elise said. “It was after a shooting of Christina Grimmie who was a singer as well. It was in a meet and greet after one of her concerts and she sadly died.
“I felt a connection because she was a singer and I related to her and I felt it was unacceptable that she died in that way and I felt very moved by that, so I got inspiration to write this song.”
Highlighting the song writing talents of students across the borough is important to Rosalind and the service.
“I think students get a lot of opportunities to perform but not necessarily to have their writing talents recognised and that’s what this gives,” Rosalind said.
Listen to Mortal Souls here
This award for Elise is an achievement of her hard work over the last couple of years and she hopes to continue her musical studies.
She said: “I know it is obviously really competitive but I’m hoping to go to a music college to study for A-levels and then maybe do music at university. And try and do as much performing as I can to get the experience.”
One of the award judges commented: “I love everything about the song. It is very astute with a clear narrative which evokes thought and reflection about the messages delivered. The song was intriguing, making the listener want to play to it over and over to think about every lyric and follow the unpredictable shape of the melody.”
Part of winning the award was the chance to spend an entire day at British Grove Studio in Chiswick. Elise had the opportunity to professionally record her song and get a taste of what her future could be.
Samantha Spence, assistant head of Ealing Music Service, said: “Alice will always be remembered, and this award offers talented songwriters the opportunity to share their songs and memories through something that she really loved doing. I am always so impressed when I visit schools and see how many talented pupils there are and the music they have written. This is an ideal platform to share their music with others. Well done to Elise, her song is beautiful, and her win is fully deserved”.
The application process for the next award opens in January 2020. Please visit the EalingMusic Service website for more details.
Alice’s family have also set up Alice’s Youth Music Memorial Fund in support of the National Foundation for Youth Music to enable disadvantaged young musicians and singers to follow their musical passions. For more information visit the Alice Gross Memorial Fund.