News Release

A Talent of His Own

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always encouraged ongoing education and the nurturing of personal talents and abilities in its membership. One family has embraced that concept and is excelling in their musical abilities.

Ben Shanks, a fifteen year old member of the Dalkeith congregation in Edinburgh, recently played the prelude music on the organ at a regional conference for the first time.   Some youth may find it a daunting experience to play before a large audience.  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, ukele 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 is now the congregation’s organist. His grandfather Chris Allen is extremely proud of his grandson’s abilities and 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. When playing his violin, he tends to play Scottish music. He listens to a wide range of music which is another nurturing source for his musical ability. He has also recorded himself playing the organ and the violin. This enables him to make adjustments to strengthen his performance as a musician.

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.

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