In February 2010 a new choir of boys’ voices was established and fourteen choristers sang their first service of Choral Evensong in May 2010. The Reading Minster Choral Foundation has been established to support the development of a choral tradition at the Minster. The fundraising for this important project is in 3 stages:
Stage 1: Establishing the tradition
Stage 2: Developing the tradition
Stage 3: Sustaining the tradition
Stage 1: 2010 – 2011
Choir robes: On 16 July 2010 nine of the choristers walked 10 miles from Reading Minster to Remenham Church (just outside Henley). They raised approximately £2,500 and robes were bought for 16 choristers and the Choir Master. We would still like to purchase a set for the Organist, a couple of spare sets for choristers and six sets for adults.
Target: £2,750 – MET July 2010
Music folders: In August a kind donation of £300 meant that we were able to purchase a set of folders for the choristers, the Choir Master and six adult singers.
Target: £300 – MET August 2010
Music library: The music library needs to be restocked with a wide range of music suitable for boys’ voices. A set of music costs approximately £50. We need around 30 sets of music.
The total amount needed to set up the boys’ choir is therefore £4,550
Annual running costs:
Singing lessons: An invaluable part of each boy’s time as a chorister will be regular singing lessons from a qualified singing teacher. Each boy will receive six lessons per term. The cost for a year’s singing lessons for each boy will be £90 (at 2010 rates).
Target: £1440 – PARTIALLY MET through a grant of £1000 from the Bernarr Rainbow Trust
Training and visits: It is planned to send choristers on courses run by the Royal School of Church Music. These can cost up to £345 per chorister for a residential course. We will also supplement our singing at Reading Minster with visits to other churches and cathedrals. A weekend visit to sing at a cathedral (we’re going to Brecon Cathedral in 2011) will cost around £100 per chorister.
Social activities: In addition to musical excursions, we will be providing the boys with purely social events, such as barbecues, football matches against other choirs, cinema visits etc. This is an important part of the life of the choir.
Choir pay: The choristers receive a small fee for attending rehearsals and services.
The annual sum needed to run Reading Minster Choir is therefore £5430. The Parish Church Council is committed to supporting the Choral Foundation and will support it with an annual grant of £3,000. Fundraising by the choir and choir parents should raise a further £1,000 each year. The church will also be applying to trusts and foundations for support; however, there is no guarantee that this will be successful. This leaves a shortfall of up to £2430.
How can you help?
There are a number of ways in which individuals and companies can support this important project.
Setting- up costs
You can either make a general contribution towards the costs of new robes and music, or you can pay for a specific number of robes or sets of music. General donations will be acknowledged on a plaque in the Choir Room, whilst donations for complete sets of robes or music will also be acknowledged with appropriate labels.
Annual running costs
Again, you can either make a general contribution or sponsor an individual chorister for a year or more. The basic annual cost of supporting a chorister is £250. If you choose to support a chorister throughout his time with the boys’ choir, which could be up to 6 years, then your name and the name of the chorister supported will be listed on plaque which will be displayed in the Choir Room.
All current supporters of the Reading Minster Choral Foundation will be invited to special events, both musical and social.
How to make a donation
If you would like to sponsor a chorister, buy a set or music or robes or make a one-off donation you can do so by sending a cheque (made payable to Reading Minster Choral Foundation) to: St. Mary’s Church House, Chain Street, Reading, RG1 2HX
If you are a UK tax payer then your donation will benefit from Gift Aid. This means that for every £1 you donate, we can claim back an extra 25 pence from the Inland Revenue. This will significantly increase the size of your donation.