The Wokingham Paper

Orchestra launches crowdfunding campaign to support musicians during coronavirus pandemic

Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsals for January 2020 concert at Waingels College, Woodley

NORMALLY, when you buy a ticket for a concert, you know what the programme will be and when it’s taking place. But a local orchestra is launching a leap of faith in a bid to support musicians hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

With public gatherings banned and arts centres shut, freelance musicians have been unable to play. And if they don’t play, they don’t earn. 

Members of the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra have launched a special crowdfunding campaign in a bid to help those affected. 

It is seeking to raise at least £12,000 so it can support professional musicians who have seen their incomes plummet during the pandemic. 

“It’s a lean time at the moment for self-employed people,” explained Andrew Taylor, conductor of the APO. “Many professional musicians I know have (seen their diaries) cleared out of engagements because we can’t do concerts at the moment. 

“This is leading to some pretty dire financial consequences.

“At APO we’ve come up with the idea of putting together a professional orchestra to present a lockdown release concert for when restrictions are fully lifted. That may be in six months, it may be in a year, we don’t know. 

“The premise of the project is that we fund the project now so that we can pay the musicians now and thus alleviate some of the financial strain they are under.”

He added that the concert will be held in Reading’s Concert Hall, which Reading Borough Council will provide at cost price.

Tickets will be transferable to another music lover if the purchaser cannot attend the date when it is revealed. 

“Given the fact it will be put on by professional musicians (the concert) will be absolutely stunning and a real celebration,” Mr Taylor added. 

As with most crowdfunding campaigns, there are different tiers, with the top packages including the chance to conduct the APO during a rehearsal or to have a 15-minute private, online recital. 

People can also choose pieces to be performed including the encore, the opening number and a piece for the second half. 

For those who don’t want tickets, a general donation of £10 is an option, which £20 will reserve a ticket for the show. 

Those benefitting from the scheme will be freelance professional musicians from the greater Reading area. 

For more details, or to support the scheme, log on to https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/reading-covid19-lockdown-release-orchestra

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