Posted By Amy Bowie
Crowdfunding a Choir Tour

In July of last year (2013), Christchurch Youth Choir sang their way south, performing their way from Timaru to Dunedin. In 40 days they raised nearly $2000 towards transport and accommodation costs via PledgeMe, to help them on their way.

The choir’s accompanist, Matt Everingham, set up the project on PledgeMe for the choir, and was interviewed by our Christchurch Brand Ambo, Amy Bowie.

So, Matt, how was the tour?

The CYC ‘Awakenings’ Southern Tour, as the title might suggest, was a first for the choir and a resounding success for all involved – singers, audiences, the committee and the music team. In only our second year of existence we decided to make a bold and exciting decision and plan for a tour South.

The first half of the year was filled with rehearsals and smaller concerts while we prepared the wonderful ‘Mass in G’ by Schubert and a varied programme of classical, jazz, contemporary and spiritual repertoire to take on tour. We took this ‘Awakenings’ Concert programme on the road to Timaru and performed in the beautiful Sacred Heart Basilica and then the Knox Church in Dunedin. It was a real pleasure performing in such historic venues (they seem to be missing in Christchurch!) and the audiences were appreciative and impressed by our performances.

We returned to a full house crowd at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Christchurch which was a real highlight to end on. Again, the music was sung superbly and despite the winter months the reaction was warmer than ever.

The tour proved to be an important milestone for the choir with so many benefits. It allowed us to really place ourselves on the map in the wider South Island and New Zealand music scene, performing to new audiences and alongside a fantastic young string ensemble. It has given us the assurance from both a musical and organisational perspective that we can go far as a young and independent choir. In the last two years CYC has grown from strength to strength, and our ‘Awakenings’ Tour was an exciting part of this.

More photos can be found in our Southern Tour Photo Album

What did you like about PledgeMe?

PledgeMe was a unique, user-friendly and effective way of gathering financial support to turn our Southern Tour into a reality. It was a great form of publicity, and teaming up with Cookie Productions we created a video from our first concert to spread the word and introduce the choir to possible crowdfunders. PledgeMe was pivotal terms of getting our message and cause out online and into the wide world (and world wide web).

How did you find the experience?

The experience was new for the choir, but it was a very flexible way of gathering support from the wider community in a friendly and positive way.

You raised nearly $2k – but were there any other benefits from the project besides money?

It allowed us to go beyond the Christchurch network of supporters and get our message out to a wider audience in New Zealand which was invaluable. It encouraged us to make a demo video of our group, which we had done professionally, which in turn boosted our publicity on Facebook and other online areas.

Any tips for choirs and/or musical groups wishing to raise funds via PledgeMe?

Publicity and getting your voice and cause out there is essential – utilise all the connections in your group! The more you can get members on board to advertise and push the cause the more support you will receive. Share, share, share – sharing really is caring when it comes to facebook and twitter! Give your group enough time on the pledgeme campaign to reach your goal – don’t be unrealistically rushed and vice versa don’t let it drag out!

We heard you recently played for The Christchurch International Musical Theatre Summer School. This is but one of many music/drama themed intensives in New Zealand and beyond. What is your advice to students who are struggling to afford such opportunities for furthering their musical education?

Where there is a will, there is always a way! Never give up on what you’re passionate about. Where opportunites seem too unrealistic, it is often even more rewarding to create your own. Where you see a need, fill that need with your own creative spark – The Christchurch Youth Choir for example emerged from a small group of committed young singers at University who saw the need for a creative musical outlet for singers post high school. Thanks to that initial vision we now have a high calibre group of some of Christchurchs’ best young singers led by our awesome Musical Director Grant Bartley. If you’re a keen young singer – watch our facebook page for audition dates!

What is in store for CYC in 2014?

With the first audition round complete, we have an exciting year ahead of us, building on the journey we had last year. It’s full speed ahead for us at the moment with plans to perform Mozart’s theatrical and action-packed ‘Coronation Mass’ with featured soloists and orchestra, as well as a Hollywood Tribute Concert to come later in the year featuring the very best choral arrangements from all the movies.

The next exciting project in the works is a CD Concert recording and on the not-so distant horizon we have plans for an Australian Tour – next stop world domination! Who knows, we might well see you back on PledgeMe soon.

Find out about our other adventures at our facebook page!

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