It is not that many years ago that a youth organisation, recognised throughout the world for winning two Golden Diplomas for outstanding singing and the Open Popular Choral Music category at the World Choir games, would have been supported by a music service who’s main funding would have been from the local authority (public) purse. The kudos of such awards would have been promoted and marketed nationally showing the significant educational and social experience the participants regularly enjoyed (over 200 rehearse during term time) as well as highlighting the excellent standards achieved and the progressive policy that supported the project.
That was in the past, getting more distant by the day, and the reality for music organisations these days is a precarious one. Speaking with many musical directors and teachers throughout the country there seems to be a decline in the numbers taking part in the larger ensembles (orchestras and wind bands) and the encouragement of wider opportunities and/or first access class participation sessions does not frequently progress students to continuing their musical studies on an individual basis. Placard making and organising protests against the withdrawal of funding seem to be some other extra curricula activities for music groups if the number of petitions on change.org is anything to go by.
The choir that were so successful at the World Choir Games last year were the 2014 Open Popular Choral Music winners Barnsley Youth Choir. This year they have been invited to take a group of singers to the European Choir Games in the German city of Magdeburg. That means another extra fundraising effort to hit the target of £30,000 required for the choir to be part of this choral festival.
The fundraising began in earnest a few days ago when many of the choir members took part in a Sponsored Sing-a-thon. Non-stop singing for over 12 hours through the night which can be seen and heard on their Facebook site. Donate at https://www.givey.com/BYCsing
Along with sponsorships and donations, which are always welcome no matter what time of year, the choir will soon be holding a gala dinner and auction and are hoping for donations of prizes (experiential and physical) from businesses to help with their efforts. Are there any businesses out there that need a theme for this year’s corporate and social responsibility scheme? If so the choir are a very worthy cause.
Fundraising through a ‘Sponsor a child scheme’ is also planned this year and the individual recipients of the sponsorship will wear the sponsors name on their shirts throughout the games in Germany. For much more information about helping the choir achieve their goals and raising aspiration for many more singers please visit http://www.barnsleyyouthchoir.org.uk/?page_id=1664
If the choir were a PLC they would be a market leader and exceeding their targets every year, especially for quality and commitment, and all this organised and managed by volunteers.