Love singing but struggle to find the time? It doesn't have to be a huge commitment.
The Reading Chorale meets up every so often to perform popular choral repertoire, without the need to commit to a schedule of weekly rehearsals - something that many singers struggle to fit around their busy lives. The choir has brought joy to singers for over two years and has gained a strong following for several reasons:
1. As an opportunity to learn brilliant music that might otherwise pass you by
2. Gives experienced singers the chance to revisit old favourites
3. Offers young soloists valuable performing experience
What makes Reading Chorale's projects different from Reading's established choral scene?
There's no shortage of vibrant choirs to join, where singers meet and rehearse over a term, performing regular concerts and sometimes inviting external singers to a workshop. This is great if you can find the time! For any busy bees who love singing - or used to love singing, or think they might love singing - and are used to staring longingly at concert posters, Reading Chorale is the answer. There is no pre-rehearsed choir. Everyone who turns up on the day becomes a day member of the Reading Chorale and performs the work in a fun but formal concert after only a few hours of rehearsal.
What kind of events have you done before?
This will be the fifth Reading Chorale workshop. Previous events at Earley St Peter's Church have attracted up to 83 musicians of all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability, learning and performing familiar favourites: the Fauré Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria, Stainer Crucifixion and Haydn Nelson Mass.
Why have you chosen Britten's St Nicolas?
The project we'll be tackling this time is our most ambitious to date! Britten's St Nicolas is one of the best-loved choral works of the 20th century. The cantata is renowned for its captivating storytelling and virtuosic tenor solo role - and was written with a diverse range of performers in mind. A full SATB chorus, four young choristers, female semi-chorus, string orchestra, organ, percussionists and piano duet will all come together on the day to craft an unforgettable performance.
As you may know, the origin of Santa Claus is based on the legend of St Nicolas - the fourth-century Bishop of Myra. He was thought to have given all his wealth to the poor, rescued women from prostitution, and worked tirelessly to help underprivileged children. Britten's dramatic soundscaping perfectly complements the text, written by British theatre director and opera librettist Eric Crozier.
Why are you crowdfunding this project?
In previous 'Come and Sing' events I have covered costs through ticket sales for the workshop. This time, I would love to offer the workshop part of the event free of charge - making it accessible to singers from all backgrounds.
There are many costs involved in organising a workshop of this scale - from venue hire and music hire to covering fees for professional musicians. Britten's St Nicolas is brought to life by a string quintet, percussionists, piano duet, organist and a tenor soloist. I personally will not be charging a fee as choir director.
Rather than charge a high fee per person, which might act as a deterrent, I would love to offer the chance to learn and perform this exciting work to everyone for free.
In the event that more money is pledged than is needed to meet the costs, these funds will be used to hire professional section leaders to help with rehearsals on the day and make the singers' learning experience even more satisfying.
Will the concert also be free?
Tickets to attend the performance of Britten's St Nicolas once the workshop has finished will cost £5. Any money raised through audience tickets will be donated to Reading-based charity Launchpad, which helps vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Reading turn their lives around (values we hope St Nicolas would approve of).
Risks and challenges
With the project successfully funded, the main challenge will then be having enough singers to comfortable cover the soprano, alto, tenor and bass parts as well as the female semi-chorus. St Nicolas is a less familiar work and attracting singers may need a little more encouragement. I have had as many as 83 participants in the past so I have set myself the challenge attracting at least 60 singers. I am confident that I can achieve this as I have a number of local teaching and conducting commitments and have an extensive network of local musicians.
As far as costs are concerned, I have a detailed budget, which comprises mainly known fixed costs. The only variable cost is associated with the provision of music for all singers and here I have made an allowance for up to 60 copies. There is however a small provision in the budget for unexpected additional costs, such as the possible need for further copies of the music.
As far as fixed costs are concerned, I already have the commitment of all the necessary professionals based on my proposed date for the event (Saturday 7 November). Their costs, as well as all other fixed costs such as a venue hire, publicity and the crowdfunding fees are already known and budgeted for.
By crowdfunding the project I hope also to raise awareness of the final performance and to encourage as many people as possible to attend. The standard of singing is always exceptional and I hope that the singers' efforts will be heard by a friendly audience. It's much more fun to perform to a full house!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)