Ben Shanks, a fifteen year old member of the Dalkeith Ward in the Edinburgh Scotland Stake, recently played the prelude music on the organ at the Stake Conference for the first time. Some youth may find it a daunting experience to play before a large audience at Stake Conference. Ben has confidence in his ability to play the organ and maintained that confidence as he played. In this family of six children, three boys and three girls, musical ability is encouraged and nurtured as a family.
Ben’s mother Jenny, explained that all of her children have sung in musicals and in music groups as they were growing up. Each of her children, whose ages range from ten to eighteen, can act as choristers if called upon to do so. Some of the instruments used by the family include recorders, piano, organ, violin, ukulele and double base.
Ben is a self-taught musician who later had lessons to increase his musical ability. His siblings have followed his example. His mother remarked, “He is quite amazing. He is much more accomplished than I was at his age.” Ben has been called as the ward organist. His grandfather Chris Allen is extremely proud of his grandson’s abilities. His grandmother remarked, “He seems to breathe music. He feels the music and his fingers indicate those feeling as they move over the keyboard.”
Ben likes classical piano and organ. Mother and son often have jam sessions together with each playing on separate pianos. Ben’s long term goal is to attend university. Until then, he has time to consider if his career path will include music.