Encore Appeal Update 4: Here’s what you’ve achieved

A message from Christopher Monks, Artistic Director of Armonico Consort:

Dear Friends.  I’m sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath to hear about the grand finale of our Encore Appeal.  But first, I want to say a huge personal thank you to each one of you – Patrons,  volunteers, businesses, charitable trusts and foundations and our hundreds of supporters – and especially to Armonico’s President Roger Medwell MBE DL, for putting his hand deep into his own pocket, more than matching his promise to give 30p in the £1 up to the first £100,000 raised.

We have been fortunate to receive fantastic support from a whopping 279 individuals and 35 charitable trusts.  These donations have enabled us to undo some of the post-Covid damage to school singing, to unlock memories in people living with dementia, and to give creative opportunities to children with special educational needs.

So, the incredible news is that you have helped us to raise a truly astonishing £258,043.

That’s 86%, so close to hitting our £300,000 target.  But not quite close enough.  We would love to reach our goal and I’m asking for your generosity, once more, to help us secure the vital work we want to deliver for our communities.

In order to tempt you to help us to reach our target, I am setting myself an exciting challenge that I will perform should we reach our £300,000 target by 31 March 2024. The challenge will be to walk up Snowdon with a group of AC musicians with our musical instruments, ready for an impromptu concert to take place at the top of the mountain. This challenge will take place in early May. The ramble and concert will both be recorded and showcased as a short film. Roger Medwell has very generously offered, once again, to pay 30p to every pound raised of the remaining £41,957.

So would you make one final donation to help push us over the finishing line?  Or become a patron and extend your support throughout the year?


The Appeal will close at midnight on Sunday 31 March so there are just days left.

Thank you,
Christopher Monks, Armonico Consort’s Artistic Director




Our Encore Appeal has supported the continuation of our weekly after-school development choir in Coventry. AC Coventry, based at St Mary’s and St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School, has this year seen its biggest growth in membership with, currently, over 60 children attending 36 weekly rehearsals a year. A highlight for the Coventry choir in 2023 was their stunning collaboration with The King’s Singers at the Collegiate Church of St Mary’s in Warwick. Children also learned to sing traditional carols for a Christmas concert at Drapers’ Hall in Coventry, delighting parents and family members with popular seasonal favourites. This included Once in Royal David’s City and Candlelight Canon, a song sung in three parts with additional glockenspiel, wind chimes and finger lights!

Our Coventry choir has seen fabulous individual successes too. Maame Efua McSam, age 16, who has been a regular member for nine years, became an AC Scholar in October 2023. This has provided her with many fantastic opportunities such as singing with our professional choir at public concerts; participation in masterclasses led by some of the world’s best singers, such as Roderick Williams; and one-to-one, monthly singing classes. Maame is working with our Artistic Director, Christopher Monks, on personal development and is preparing to apply for Oxbridge entry exams, a step that would not have been possible had it not been for Armonico’s support.

In addition to individual donors, we have secured 22 grants over the year from new charitable trusts and foundations for our AC Academy singing education programme. Special thanks go to the John and Julia Egan Charitable Trust and the Britford Bridge Trust for their generous grants.



This July we return to London for another gigantic AC Academy Does the Royal Albert Hall. The RAH Special Education Needs project will involve three schools in the Coventry area: Sherbourne Fields, Castlewood and Baginton. Around 12 pupils from each school will take part in this incredible event, sharing the stage with 2,500 mainstream school pupils, professional singers and orchestra, ‘Strictly’ dancers and more! Our exceptionally talented and experienced workshop leaders, Will and Patrick, have the privilege of working with these talented young people.

The aim of this project is to develop pupil-based ideas from conception to a complete musical work. Over the course of 6 workshops, each school will combine their creative output to produce a new piece with full orchestral accompaniment. To make this even grander, the entire Royal Albert Hall audience will learn the song on the day and fill the rafters with this new music. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for these children and one that will surely stay in their memories for ever.

Armonico Consort are extremely proud of our work in Special Schools and the difference it makes to the lives of children. This project is no exception, and we look forward to another uplifting and memorable performance at the Royal Albert Hall on 9 July 2024.

Your donations and the support of generous trusts such as the Hays Travel Foundation and the Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust is enabling this project to take place.



When words fail, music speaks.  Nearly one million people in the UK are living with dementia and Public Health projects this figure will increase to 1.6 million by 2040.  Singing can have a profound effect on dementia symptoms, improving mental and physical health, well-being and happiness.  So much so, that GPs now often prescribe involvement in choirs to improve quality of life.

Numbers at our Warwick Memory Singers now stand at around 50 each week, with 110 registered participants and carers.  These sessions are the highlight of many people’s week, bringing a precious opportunity to connect with loved ones through music, and to meet others socially.   They’re fun and dynamic, with music from stage, screen and pop charts to Armonico’s Baroque repertoire.  And they’re led by workshop leaders, specially trained through a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Singing for the Brain’ initiative, and a professional pianist.  A guest performance ends the session, this is often an AC Scholar which brings a welcome inter-generational element. Last year, we also welcomed 15 professional singers and instrumentalists including Jiafeng Chen, violin and Geoffrey Webber, organ.

This is Nigel and Jenny’s story

Nigel May cares for his wife Jenny who has dementia and has been coming to our Warwick Memory Singers choir for over a year now. Because of her condition, Jenny is now in a wheelchair, but she was a singer and pianist in her youth. Nigel explained the value of being able to speak to people in the same position as him as it reduces his feelings of loneliness. Seeing dementia sufferers in worse conditions than his wife also brings him gratitude and has a positive and uplifting impact on his mental health. Since coming to our Memory Singers group, Nigel and Jenny regularly attend our concerts as it is one of the only things they can do together now. “She doesn’t remember the concert afterwards but remembers that she felt good that day.” Nigel feels so passionately about the positive impact the Memory Singers group has that he has become a patron of our charity.

We are hugely grateful to the King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, Batchworth Trust and Janet and Bryan Moore Charitable Trust as well as donors to the Encore Appeal for helping us provide this lifeline for people with dementia and their carers.

Looking forward, we are planning the upscaling of our Memory Singers group, moving into Coventry and Solihull. We anticipate that this will happen by September 2024 and have our Encore Appeal supporters to thank for this. We will be introducing new partnerships such as Coventry Municipal Charities who run almshouses in Coventry city centre. Partner roles will be varied and will include provision of free venue hire, access to dementia communities, arts contributors including music and choral groups.


A message from Mr Roger Medwell MBE DL, President of Armonico Consort

“We’ve had a magnificent response to the Encore Appeal, and I can’t thank everyone enough for your support in making it happen. Let’s have one final push to get over the line – please give what you can by clicking on this link before midnight on Sunday 31 March.”


Your donation to our Encore Appeal will benefit these vital music projects:

  • Creating children’s choirs in deprived areas
  • Bringing musical joy to those living with dementia in our communities
  • Empowering young people with special educational needs.