The Alice Downs Scholarship for Summer Orchestra Programs at PIMF

The Alice Downs Scholarship, in honor of Valma Lock Hunter, is a select scholarship open only to residents of Camden County, New Jersey.

Past scholarship recipients:

  • 2011 – Derek Li, Haddonfield Middle School
  • 2012 – Julia Chin, Haddonfield Central School
  • 2013 – Kate Schell, Collingswood Middle School
  • 2014 – Joshua Baw, Voorhees Middle School
  • 2015 – Joshua Baw, Voorhees Middle School
  • 2017 – Anthony Monoyios, Rohrer Middle School
  • 2018 – Julia Hart, Haddonfield Middle School

The Alice Downs Scholarship for Young Violinists was established in 2010 in honor of Valma Hunter on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Born in Brisbane, Australia, on November 4, 1920 to Joseph and Catherine Lock, Valma spent her early years in the outback of Queensland on her father’s sheep and cattle station, “Alice Downs.” Valma’s mother was a cultured English lady who wanted her son George and daughter Valma to be accomplished in the arts. To that end, she took them periodically to Brisbane – 470 miles away (17 hours by train) – to further their education. George studied violin and elocution. Valma studied piano, violin, elocution, and ballet (her real love).

In time, the family relocated to Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. At age nine, Valma appeared professionally during Anna Pavlova’s 1929 season. At the Phyllis Danaher School of Dancing, she was the first teacher of four-year-old Garth Welch, who went on to become principal male dancer for The Australian Ballet and a noted choreographer. Arrangements had been made for Valma to continue her ballet studies and career in London, but those plans were dashed by the death of her mother and, in 1939, the outbreak of World War II. She married Colin Hunter in 1942 and gave birth to daughter Diane in 1943 while her husband was serving in England with the Royal Australian Air Force. Son David was born after the war, in 1948.

Valma’s keen interest in the world of ballet and music never wavered. She arranged for her children to take lessons and although neither of them excelled in those areas – David always preferred wielding a cricket bat to a violin bow – they both credit their mother with instilling in them a love for music and an appreciation for the arts. The Alice Downs Scholarship for Young Violinists is intended to enable a promising student of the violin or viola – a resident of Camden County NJ, age 11 to 19 – to enroll as a Day Participant at the Philadelphia International Music Festival’s two-week summer program at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, PA.

Students may enroll in other programs offered by the Festival, including the Extended Day and Residential programs, and private lessons with our world-class faculty. Half and Full Scholarships do not include private lessons. Private lessons may be purchased for any program at $90 per lesson.

Scholarship Details: Recipients of the annual Alice Downs Scholarship receive: Full Tuition to Two-Week music Camp Program at the Philadelphia International Music Festival, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (9:00 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.), festival T-Shirt, and four (4) complimentary tickets to the Philadelphia International Music Festival Music for Healing concert, featuring members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and other world-class musicians, in June or July of 2018.

Who May Apply?

Any student of violin or viola between the ages of 11 and 19 residing in Camden County, New Jersey.

Application Requirements:

Compose a 250 to 300-word essay on the topic “Why Violin [or Viola] is the Coolest Instrument in the Orchestra.”
Send composition via e-mail to:
Then click here to fill out PIMF on-Line scholarship application form

Winner of the PIMF Summer Music Camp/Alice Downs Scholarship will be notified by May 15, 2019.

Scholarships will be applied to any Two-Week program tuition.

Application Deadline: May 13, 2019

The scholarship is funded by The Gumnut Group LLC (Media & More), Haddonfield NJ and presented by the Rotary Club of Haddonfield Foundation.

The Rotary Club of Haddonfield Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides financial Assistance to students in Haddonfield and nearby communities who are furthering their education in a college, vocational, or other educational settings.  Since 2001, the Foundation has awarded scholarships valued in total at more than $80,000. The award will be presented during a Rotary luncheon at the Tavistock Country Club in June (date to be determined).  The recipient of the Alice Downs Scholarship for Young Violinists will be expected to attend that meeting to receive his/her award.

Click here for a downloadable brochure.