Choir Appeal - July 2023
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 had until then depended was also cancelled.
The Choir, however, 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.
In 2021 we were able to resume 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 the future once again began to look much brighter.
Since last September, the choir has found a permanent home at St Mary's Le Strand, Aldwych by kind permission of the vicar and director of music. Over the course of this last year we have enjoyed a very successful partnership with the church and have been very privileged to be able to hold some of our concerts there in addition to our weekly rehearsals. We very much hope to be able to remain at St Mary's for the forseeable future.
However, the choir still has no funding and we rely soley on the income from our concerts and subscriptions from our members to cover our venue hire and rehearsal costs. Unfortunately this means that budgets are exceedingly tight and since before the pandemic the choir has not been financially able to perform more than three times a year. Currently, the likes of choir tours and larger scale performances remain only dreams.
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:
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.
If you are interested or can offer our wonderful choir any help or assistance, please contact the Choir President, George, at email@example.com.
Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward in earnest to hearing from you!
George, Henry and Olivia
ULCC Committee, 2023-2024