An update from our Artistic Director, Christopher Monks on short-term changes to re-focus Armonico Consort’s work to deliver some of our most valuable projects – our tried-and-tested singing workshops – in schools and care homes where they are most needed, and to create an emergency fund to support our freelance musicians.
“I hope you are all keeping safe and well in these most difficult and unpredictable times. It was whilst I was creating choirs and training choir leaders in Kenya two weeks ago it became apparent things were going to change significantly for us all, and it was during an emergency evacuation (because of lockdown) from the country that I worked with my team to create a plan!
These are tough times for arts organisations, every concert and recording project has been postponed until after July, and not a single education workshop can take place as they have done, and sadly, it’s looking likely that our Royal Albert Hall concert in June will have to be postponed.
Armonico Consort clearly needs to change fast to adapt to the changing environment in which it exists. This is what we are doing:
- The entire management and administration team have been trained to become fundraisers, we will not make them redundant during this crisis. Unfortunately, because they will be staying active in work, we are not eligible for the 80% government support. Whilst this is not likely to have a short term benefit, it should strengthen us in the long term.
- We are creating a daily virtual mechanism to deliver interactive singing workshops for children of key workers and those from vulnerable backgrounds who are still in school.
- Loneliness in the elderly is a huge issue right now, so we are developing a daily virtual Voice Squad singing session specifically for care homes and those caring for dementia patients where singing is so important (indeed it is being used by some GPs instead of medicine as it is more effective).
- The other key benefit of both of these is that of mental health. This is more important now than ever.
- We are creating an emergency fund of £55,000 plus so that we can compensate our freelance musicians for some of the lost income from cancelled concerts, aiming to soften the horrific situation some of them find themselves in, where hopefully they can continue to work with their brilliant talents.
- Raising working capital so that any delayed funding from grant trust and education hubs does not damage Armonico Consort’s ability to survive long into the future.
This situation is clearly temporary, and it is looking like we might slowly get back to normal from the autumn, but even in this short time frame, colossal damage can and will be done. I would ask you all that if you feel able to help in some way, either by the cost of a ticket, through the sponsorship of a virtual workshop or helping with working capital, your help can and will make a massive difference to many, many people.
If you feel able to help to any way, please visit: www.armonico.org.uk/get-involved/donate
Thank you for your continued support, and we will keep you informed by email and social media on our progress in all of these areas.