Why support OYC?
Oxford Youth Choirs is funded almost exclusively from termly subscriptions. Income from concerts provides a welcome boost, but performances at hired venues only really cover costs. Whilst we are financially stable, we are often limited in our ambition by lack of money. We are keen to develop the choir in several directions:
- Inclusion Households with lower incomes may feel excluded from engaging with opportunities that others take for granted. Children from all backgrounds are welcome. OYC already runs bursary and discount schemes, but these are constrained by budgets. Creating a healthy fund would dramatically increase our reach in this respect.
- Performances Concerts are not just a chance for choristers to enjoy the excitement of showing their immense talents to friends and family, but also create an invaluable learning opportunity, broadening their experience. Ambitious plans often come with extra cost - our hugely successful collaboration with Bloemfontein Children's Choir required us to fund our visitors' accommodation for two nights, as well as the costs for hiring the venue etc. This couldn't have been possible without the enormously successful crowd-funding appeal that was so generously supported, to the tune of over £2000. We have always been determined to support the choristers with the best musicians, directors and staging technicians possible. Senior girls in particular are often accompanied by leading professionals. We have been blessed with drawing on a number of choir-parents, but always need to supplement these with paid performers. With more funding, the potential for these concerts would take the girls to a new level of learning and performance.
- Costumes Our small costumes-team never fail to deliver convincing-looking performers. Recent years have seen us re-vamp the black dresses so that all senior girls have a well-fitting performance outfit. As well as repairs and adaptations for new shows, we need to be able to diversify our repertoire and ought not be restricted by the availability of suitable costumes.
- Workshops One of our key aims is to promote musical diversity. Workshops are an ideal way to introduce new perspectives in teaching. We are lucky to count Roderick Williams OBE and Edward Higginbottom as Patrons who have each run occasional workshops for our choirs. And there is a world of talented music teachers that, with your help, we could tap into.
- Sheet music Typically, it can cost around £500 to provide new sheet music for one of our choirs, for a new performance. With tight budgets, clearly this too can restrict our ambition when planning new repertoire.
- Tours Over the choirs' long history we have regularly toured - Gozo is our 'go to' destination where we have good local links. Other recent visits include Reims, Paris, Berlin, *** In the case of Gozo, this included paying for four professional musicians and their costs. These trips allow friendships to blossom, younger singers work closely with older ones, they develop discipline and teamwork skills which all support the transition to adult life. We are convinced that these experiences massively support our teaching goals for the choir. We are also determined to extend our 'inclusion' policy to ensure all choir members can be involved. We need help with funding to ensure that this potential remains a part of the OYC experience.