'Molly G' Awarded the First Ritchie Pickett Scholarship

Cambridge High School’s Milly Goodeve has just become the first recipient of the Ritchie Pickett Music Scholarship.

The year 10 student was awarded the $1,000 scholarship soon after returning from Los Angeles, where she won five medals and was crowned world champion in her age group (13 to 15 years) at the World Championships of Performing Arts.

The prestigious event in early July saw the 14 year old leave Hollywood with two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze.  She was also offered 25 percent towards a scholarship at the New York Dramatic Art Academy.

With her to witness her success were proud mum Toni Usmar and Paul Trenwith, her banjo teacher and a member of the Hamilton Country Blues Grass Band.

Soon after her return, Molly was presented with the Ritchie Pickett Music Scholarship at a special school assembly, where 1550 students and 100 staff were on hand to congratulate her and hear her perform a song called ‘Piece by Piece’.  They also witnessed her being presented with the Cambridge High School arts tie – another surprise that she said came out of left field.

John McDonnell, CHS Deputy Principal, explained how arts ties were normally presented only to year 12 or 13 students, and said: “We think she’s a very worthy recipient – even if she can’t actually wear it yet”.

The music scholarship was formally launched at a Ritchie Pickett Memorial Concert held in the Cambridge Town Hall in April last year and attended by several top names in the music industry.

Morrinsville-born Ritchie Pickett, who died at his Cambridge home in March 2011, was a highly regarded country music singer/songwriter described as one of New Zealand’s “kings of country/rock”.  After his death, his family organised memorial concerts with the proceeds going to Cambridge High School for a scholarship in Ritchie’s name.

The $1,000 scholarship is intended to help a student or students succeed in music and covers the purchase of instruments and/or private tuition.

Molly, who sings under the name Molly G, has her own special link with Morinsville.  She’s been involved with music from the age of 10 and is part of the Morrinsville Country Music Club.  In 2014, she won the NZ Entertainer of the Year award, and was later recognised with the title ‘NZ Rising Star 2016’ at the prestigious NZ Benny Awards.

Keen to use her love of song to help others, she has raised thousands of dollars for Auckland’s Starship Hospital through fundraisers she has organised, and regularly promotes other young performers through a Facebook group she started at age 12.

Delighted to be the first Ritchie Pickett Music Scholarship recipient, Molly wants to add the funds to a $1,000 donation from Cambridge Rotary Club and use the money to help get her to an event in Tamworth, Australia, next year.

For the time being, it’s more of the same.  More penning songs, playing and singing …. and even making instruments, which is something else she loves doing.

By far the most nerve-wracking moment she’s had all year was singing ‘Piece by Piece’ at the school assembly.

“It as much more intimidating performing for the school than for the audience at the final showcase in Hollywood”, she laughed.  “That’s probably because I know them all here… they see me all the time!”

Article: Viv Posselt, Cambridge Edition

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