Choir Appeal - July 2022

Dear Friends,

 

The Choir is extremely proud of who we are and what we have achieved over many years.

 

Whereas many member colleges within the University of London have increasingly restricted their clubs, societies, and activities membership to their own students, ULCC has been and always will be open to students and alumni from any educational institute in London.

 

Many of these - such as the Royal Veterinary College, University of West London or SOAS, where several of our current members study - are smaller and specialised institutions that do not have choirs or indeed any musical groups of their own, and certainly not with the professional direction, regular performance standard, and dynamic repertoire of ULCC.

 

Of the 60 or so applications we typically receive at the beginning of each academic year, a vast majority report that they wish to join a choir in London, but either it was not offered by their own institution, or they faced entry restrictions such as the requirement to be studying Music. Worryingly, a few singers have sought to join us on account of a culture of elitism, toxic competition, or even bullying at their own college choir.

These things are diametrically opposite to what we do at ULCC. They strengthen our determination to provide without unnecessary restriction an opportunity for hundreds of gifted students to sing in a choir. 

However, in the past two years, that resolve has very much been tested.

Our Recent Story

In 2013, the University of London effectively privatised its student union, handing management of its clubs & societies under its umbrella - including us -  to a company called Student Central. This arrangement worked for several years until the COVID pandemic struck when Student Central was closed, and was never to re-open. 

Student Central had folded, and in mid-2020, the former union building including our rehearsal space, our piano, and the union bar where for decades the choir's members had met after rehearsals, were all sold to Birkbeck College. The funding from the University of London, upon which we have until now depended was also cancelled. We were however able to keep our library comprising some 9000 copies of music, which now sits in a shipping container on Mallet Street. 

The Choir did not fold, and in fact we received our largest ever cohort of new applicants to the choir in September 2020. That year, limited by government guidance mostly to online activities, we undertook not only to provide rehearsals, but also a chance for people locked down at home to come together in spirit if not in person at a time when campuses across the country were closed. 

This year, we resumed in-person rehearsals thanks to the generosity of St Cuthbert's Church, Earl's Court, and St John the Baptist's Church, Shepherd's Bush. We broke another record in terms of audience numbers and income for our 2021 Christmas Concert, and we continue to the present day as not just a choir, but a group of friends. 

However our present situation is extremely difficult. The only thing of which we are unquestionably certain is the commitment of our current and prospective members to continue singing in a choir.

Therefore, today we are appealing for your help:

Rehearsal & Music Storage Space

We urgently seek a regular and long term rehearsal space, as well as a home for our extensive choir library. If you perchance have anything to offer in this respect, or if you know anyone who might likewise, please do get in touch with us. 

The choir rehearses during London University term dates (typically September-December, January-March and April-June) and we are looking for a space that could accommodate us for approximately 2 hours per week in the evening. Previously we have rehearsed on a Tuesday evening in Zone 1, Central London, between 6:30 and 8:30pm, but we are able to negotiate this and be flexible. 

The choir's extensive music collection required approximately 10 metres length of standard shelf space, or 2 standard sized household bookshelves for comparison. 

Financial Contribution

 

We would also be extremely grateful for any financial contribution you might be willing to make. We are not a for-profit organisation.  Your generosity would go directly towards supporting the choir and its activities providing the opportunity to all London based students to sing, develop their musical talents, and contribute to an ensemble greater than the sum of its parts. Your donation would be anonymous, or you would be listed on our website and concert programmes as a Patron at your discretion. You would also receive free concert admission (including a guest), and reserved seats at our performances.

Become a Choir Trustee

 

Finally, as we look ahead to the long term future, we wish to register as a charitable organisation, for which we are currently looking for trustees. Our plan is that this would involve an annual meeting with the choir's committee, as well as free concert admission (including a guest), reserved seats at our performances, and more.

Contact us

 

If you are interested or can offer our wonderful choir any help or assistance, please contact the Choir President, Anthony, at president.ulcc@gmail.com.

Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward in earnest to hearing from you!

Yours sincerely,

Anthony, James, Oli and Olivia

- ULCC Committee, 2021-2022